GROCERY PRICES CONTINUE TO CLIMB
MONTGOMERY, Ala. ------ As shoppers prepare to stock up on chocolate bunnies and toy-filled Easter baskets, they'll notice a slight difference on this month's grocery receipts -- higher prices. According to the latest results from the Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $58.03, up 62 cents or 1.08 percent from a month earlier.
|Dyed eggs will be making their appearance soon, but what can you do with the colorful leftovers? Devilled eggs for those spring picnics are just one of the many options to consider. Eggs averaged $1.63 a dozen this month. |
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 $49.07, up $2.10 or about 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 increased, two decreased in average price and one remained the same compared to the prior quarter.
At Alabama supermarkets, a significant portion of the increase came from several items found in the meat case. Bacon surged 60 cents to $5.45 a pound; T-bone steaks were up 45 cents to $8.31 a pound; ground beef was up 8 cents to $2.88 a pound; whole fryers were up 6 cents to $1.29 a pound; chicken breasts were up 6 cents to $2.28 a pound; Boston butts were up 3 cents to $2.14 a pound; and chuck roasts were up 3 cents to $3.74 a pound. Shoppers were able to save money on pork chops, which were down 8 cents to $3.37 a pound. Eggs remained unchanged, averaging $1.63 a dozen.
Prices were mixed in the dairy case this month. Milk increased 10 cents to $3.40 a half-gallon, and ice cream edged 4 cents higher to $4.17 a half-gallon. Meanwhile, butter prices dropped 31 cents to $4.30 a pound, and cottage cheese was a penny cheaper at $2.55 a pound.
"As anticipated, the increased consumer demand for meats and dairy products that began in 2009 and continued through 2010 remains evident as we look forward to the middle of 2011," said AFBF Economist John Anderson. "Retail price increases for some foods are likely to continue throughout the year, as it takes time for farmers to increase the size of their herds to accommodate increased demand."
Shoppers in the market for fresh vegetables were pleased to find lower prices overall along the produce aisle. Lettuce dropped 57 cents to $1.58 a head, and sweet potatoes were down 4 cents to 89 cents a pound. Red potatoes were up a penny to 84 cents a pound, and tomatoes remained unchanged, averaging $2.31 a pound.
Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state April 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $55.96 in northwest Alabama, $57.93 in northeast Alabama, $59.62 in central Alabama and $59.16 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.