AUGUST SHOPPERS PAY MORE FOR PORK, POULTRY
Montgomery, Ala. - Despite hog futures falling to their lowest level in seven years recently on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, consumers paid more for pork at the grocery store in August as retailers resisted taking steep discounts. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, sharp gains in retail pork prices pushed the average cost of 20 basic market basket items 1.5 percent higher to $51.44, an increase of 76 cents from July's average.
Pork chops saw the biggest increase this month with the average price hitting $3.42 a pound, up 24 cents from a month ago. Bacon also was higher at $4.32 a pound, up 19 cents. Boston butts, however, were down 4 cents to $1.48 a pound.
Meanwhile, a sharp rise in the average price of chicken breasts more than offset savings on whole fryers in the poultry case. According to the survey, fryers dropped 7 cents to $1.16 a pound, but chicken breasts were up 35 cents to $2.33 a pound. Beef prices, however, were stable with T-bone steaks averaging $8.11 a pound, down a penny, while chuck roasts were $3.18 a pound, down 2 cents. Ground beef scanned in a $2.28 a pound, up 1 cent.
On the produce aisle, ample supplies of summer tomatoes pushed prices 26 cents lower to $1.38 a pound. Lettuce also was less expensive at $1.37 a head, down 2 cents, but red potatoes and sweet potatoes were both up 3 cents a pound to 87 cents and 96 cents, respectively.
In the dairy case, shoppers continued to enjoy good prices with a half-gallon of milk averaging $2.65, down a nickel. Higher seasonal demand for ice cream pushed average prices 16 cents higher to $3.88 a half-gallon, but cottage cheese was down 4 cents to $2.52 a pound. Butter was slightly more expensive at $3.46 a pound, up 3 cents. Eggs were up 26 cents to $1.41 a dozen.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state Aug. 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $50.54 in northwest Alabama, $50.69 in the northeast corner of the state, $51.05 in the central counties and $53.86 in south Alabama.
Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, conducts the informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. Nationally, the Farm Bureau's quarterly market basket report released in July showed food prices fell for the third consecutive quarter with 16 items down $1.12 or 2 percent from the first quarter of 2009.