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September 16, 2011   Email to Friend 

FOOD PRICES FALL DESPITE HIGHER ENERGY COSTS
Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
September 16, 2011

Bacon-wrapped chicken bites are a staple among many tailgaters, both for their ease of preparation and their delicious flavor. And this month, shoppers got an extra treat - bacon dropped 25 cents to $5.74 a pound, and chicken breasts were a penny cheaper at $2.22 a pound.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Though they've remained volatile throughout 2011, energy prices weren't as impactful on September's food prices as they've been in the past few months. According to the latest results from the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the average cost of 20 basic market basket items was $59.48, down 30 cents or half of 1 percent from August.

A portion of the savings can be attributed to lower prices on several items in the meat case. Bacon was down 25 cents to $5.74 a pound; pork chops were down 7 cents to $3.72 a pound; Boston butts were down 4 cents to $2.04 a pound; T-bone steaks were down 4 cents to $8.44 a pound; whole fryers were down a penny to $1.25 a pound; and chicken breasts were down a penny to $2.22 a pound. Meanwhile, ground beef edged 4 cents higher to $2.87 a pound; and chuck roasts were up a penny to $3.91 a pound. Eggs experienced a modest increase, up 29 cents to $1.90 a dozen.

Prices in the dairy case were mixed this month. Milk was down 10 cents to $3.50 a half-gallon; and ice cream was down 6 cents to $4.25 a half-gallon. Cottage cheese and butter both increased a penny, averaging $2.89 and $4.62 a pound, respectively.

Though summer is winding down and the availability of fresh produce is declining, items along the produce aisle were still affordable in September. Tomatoes were down 13 cents to $1.54 a pound; lettuce was down 11 cents to $1.38 a head; and sweet potatoes were down 2 cents to 91 cents a pound. Red potatoes were 4 cents higher this month at 93 cents a pound.

Alabama shoppers escaped paying more for grocery staples this month, but the rest of the country wasn't as lucky, according to a release issued from the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

"Energy prices are expected to continue to rise as an improving global economy stimulates demand," said AFBF Economist John Anderson. "Oil prices climbed to more than $100 per barrel in the second quarter and were at $105 at the end of August -- the highest level since 2008. Continuation of this trend will further affect food and other retail product prices."

Anderson noted that growing global demand for meat and dairy products and a relatively healthy consumer demand also contributed to modest retail price increases, which are forecast to increase modestly for the remainder of the year.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers throughout the state September 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $57.14 in northwest Alabama, $58.25 in northeast Alabama, $60.72 in south Alabama and $61.93 in central 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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