Prices stabilized for groceries in the Plattsburgh area this month, which is a relief after three months of increases. The 41 items came in at $94.11 in October, up a few cents from September's cost of $93.96, and up 1 percent from last October's cost of $93.11.
For the month of October, prices stayed relatively the same in most categories, with the exception of a 5 percent decrease on produce and a 7 percent increase on miscellaneous items. For the year there was a 10 percent increase on meats and a 7 percent decrease on frozen foods.
Costs for 10 pounds of round white potatoes and yellow onions dropped this month, although onions are still 14 percent higher than October 2009. Carrots and red Delicious apples are both also up for the year.
Chopped spinach was on sale in many stores this month, preventing the total of items from the frozen food case from increasing despite higher prices on both store brand ice cream and haddock.
Drinks prices continue to be stable overall, but 100 store brand tea bags are 31 cents less this year than last.
After trending upwards for several months, canned goods had a slight decrease this month. The cost of all products priced in this category are down from October 2009: Del Monte fruit cocktail, Green Giant peas, store brand diced tomatoes, Starkist chunk tuna fish and store brand vegetable soup in beef stock.
A drop back to the more normal $1.22 per dozen large eggs helped keep dairy prices from spiking due to the increase of the cost of a pound of store brand butter again this month. The price on this item is 55 cents higher than this time last year.
Prices on meats were up overall and continue to fluctuate on particular cuts. For the year there has been a 28 percent increase on chuck steak and 23 percent on one pound of Oscar Mayer bacon, with increases on all cuts except ground chuck.
In the breads, cereals and grains category, sugar finally decreased slightly in cost for the month. It is still 9 percent more expensive than this month last year. Hopefully, the cost of this important holiday baking ingredient will continue downward.
Apple picking began about a week earlier than usual due to the heat this year. One of the true advantages of living in the North Country is the accessibility of local orchards. Many have opportunities for family fun picking apples and pumpkins. This is pear season, and the start of the cranberry season. Sweet potatoes and winter squash are in peak supply and good sources of beta carotene (Vitamin A).
The Market Basket Report is a bi-monthly survey of 41 food items commonly purchased by consumers. Four major supermarkets are surveyed in the Plattsburgh area and the resulting report produced. The report is a community service sponsored by the Technical Assistance Center at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.