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January 15, 2010   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
January 15, 2010

Black-eyed peas and greens are just two of the Southern traditions behind welcoming a New Year.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Shoppers who filled up on black-eyed peas for luck and greens for prosperity at the start of the New Year may find themselves thankful for adhering to this Southern tradition. According to the latest results from the Federation's monthly food price survey, Alabama shoppers experienced a slight increase of 1.5 percent, or 78 cents, this month for 20 basic market items, which had a total average cost of $52.37.

A significant portion of this increase came from several items in the meat case. Pork chops were up 13 cents to $3.27 a pound; T-bone steaks were up 34 cents to $7.90 a pound; ground beef was up 5 cents to $2.31 a pound; chuck roasts were up 7 cents to $3.18 a pound; and chicken breasts were up 8 cents to $2.11 a pound. Whole fryers stayed the same at $1.19 a pound. While most meats were higher this month, shoppers did find savings on bacon and Boston butts. Bacon was down 15 cents a pound to $3.93, and Boston butts were down a penny to $1.60 a pound. Eggs were down to $1.62 a dozen, a savings of 4 cents from December.

News on the produce aisle was a little better this month as prices decreased on average 3 cents. Lettuce was up 7 cents to $1.66 a head, and sweet potatoes were up 9 cents a pound to 84 cents. Savings found on tomatoes and red potatoes made up for the increase on the other vegetable staples. Tomatoes were down 13 cents this month to $1.96 a pound, while red potatoes were down 15 cents a pound to 74 cents.

In the dairy case, shoppers looking for ice cream and butter found an increase in prices, while those after cottage cheese noticed a slight decrease. Ice cream increased 17 cents to $4.16 a half-gallon and butter increased 26 cents to $3.62 a pound. Cottage cheese decreased a penny to $2.63 a pound. Shoppers in the market for milk this month noticed no change, as milk remained $2.94 per half-gallon.

Though Alabama's food prices increased this month, prices nationwide have decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter and are significantly lower than one year ago, according to the latest survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state Jan. 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $50.58 in northwest Alabama, $51.05 in northeast Alabama, $52.92 in central Alabama and $55.71 in south Alabama.

Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, is the state's largest farm organization. Its county members conduct the informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends.

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