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April 14, 2010   Email to Friend 

MODEST PRICE INCREASE ALONG GROCERY AISLES
Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
April 14, 2010

Often described as both a sweet and healthy treat, sweet potatoes were down 16 cents this month to 76 cents a pound.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Past the stocked shelves of chocolate bunnies and egg dye kits, shoppers noticed their grocery receipts were slightly higher this month. According to the latest results from the Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $54.11, up $2.41 or 4.7 percent from a month earlier.

Nationally, the American Farm Bureau Federation's quarterly market basket survey revealed a similar trend. The survey showed the total cost of 16 food items was $45.54, up $2.64 or 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009. Of the 16 items surveyed, 14 increased and two decreased in average price compared to the prior quarter.

At Alabama supermarkets, a significant portion of the increase came from several items found in the meat case. T-bone steaks were up 74 cents to $8.41 a pound; chicken breasts were up 40 cents a pound to $2.31; pork chops were up 15 cents to $3.35 a pound; ground beef was up 11 cents to $2.51 a pound; chuck roasts were up 5 cents to $3.49 a pound; and Boston butts were up 3 cents to $1.69 a pound. Shoppers were able to save money on bacon, however, down 8 cents this month to $4.05 a pound. Whole fryers remained $1.23 a pound. Eggs averaged at $1.75 a dozen, an increase of 20 cents from March.

Prices surged in the dairy case this month as well. Ice cream increased 20 cents to $4.06 a half-gallon; milk increased 7 cents to $2.88 a half-gallon; and cottage cheese increased a penny to $2.53 a pound. Meanwhile, butter was down 16 cents this month to $3.43 a pound.

"Improved demand for milk and dairy products here at home and from export markets was the driving factor behind higher retail prices found by our volunteer shoppers during the first quarter of the year," said AFBF Economist John Anderson. "Higher retail prices for some meats were due to reduced supplies," Anderson said.

Increased prices also extended to the produce aisle this month, as prices jumped 19 cents on average. Tomatoes increased 76 cents to $2.88 a pound; lettuce increased 11 cents to $1.37 a head; and red potatoes increased 3 cents to 74 cents a pound. Noticeable savings on sweet potatoes, however, provided shoppers with a bit of a price break. Sweet potatoes were down 16 cents to 76 cents a pound.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state April 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $50.91 in northeast Alabama, $53.41 in northwest Alabama, $54.89 in central Alabama and $58.02 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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