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February 25, 2011   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
February 25, 2011

Ice cream, down 16 cents to $3.94 a half-gallon, is one way shoppers can 'sweeten up' their trip to the grocery store this month.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- February -- a month of love, flowers and candy hearts... but for many grocery shoppers, it was also a month of larger grocery receipts. Fortunately for shoppers, however, several staples were still affordable despite an overall price increase. According to the latest results from the Federation's monthly food price survey, Alabama shoppers experienced a modest increase of $1.59, or 2.96 percent, this month for 20 basic market items, which had a total average cost of $55.31.

A significant portion of this increase came from several items in the meat case. Leading the price surge were bacon, up 41 cents this month to $5.06 a pound; and chuck roasts, up 40 cents to $3.72 a pound. Other items that experienced a price increase were ground beef, up 26 cents to $2.84 a pound; pork chops, up 14 cents to $3.50 a pound; T-bone steak, up 14 cents to $7.61 a pound; chicken breasts, up 6 cents to $2.14 a pound; and whole fryers, up 3 cents to $1.24 a pound. While most meats were higher this month, shoppers did find savings on Boston butts, down 13 cents to $1.80 a pound. Eggs were priced at $1.66 a dozen, a savings of 12 cents from January.

Based on seasonal availabilities, items along the produce aisle weren't exempt from the price increases found along other grocery aisles. Lettuce increased 25 cents to $1.63 a head; sweet potatoes were up a nickel to 91 cents a pound; tomatoes were up 4 cents to $1.72 a pound; and red potatoes were up a penny to 85 cents a pound.

Shoppers looking for savings in the dairy case found a pleasant surprise, as ice cream, cottage cheese and butter all decreased in price. Ice cream was down 16 cents to $3.94 a half-gallon; cottage cheese was down 15 cents to $2.46 a pound; and butter was down 3 cents to $4.28 a pound. Meanwhile, milk increased 21 cents to $3.26 a half-gallon.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state Feb. 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $51.85 in northwest Alabama, $55.43 in northeast Alabama, $56.56 in central Alabama and $57.79 in south Alabama.

As a way to remind consumers that farmers are committed to producing food that is both healthy and affordable, the Farmers Federation observed National Food Check-Out Week, Feb. 20-26. According to the most recent (2009) information from the USDA's Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

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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