The cost of the 41 items in the market basket for March came to $97.47, up slightly from $96.00 in February, and also up from $93.96 last March. For the month there was a small rise in most categories, with the only significant one being 5 percent on meat prices. Prices remained stable from March 2010 with the exception of a 13 percent and 8 percent increases on meats and dairy respectively; the only decrease was a 5 percent decline on canned goods.
In the frozen foods aisle ice cream continues to be less expensive than in 2010, but French cut green beans are 8 percent more costly.
The price of Iceberg lettuce shot up 8 percent since last month. At $2.01 as an average price per head, it is a full 35 cents more expensive this March than in 2010.
In the meat case, prices are continually changing from month to month on individual items priced as there are frequently sales on specific cuts. The price on the overall category has been trending up all year, however and is 13 percent higher now than in 2010 at this time. This is probably due to the increased prices on oil, which impact not only transportation costs but those of grains fed to livestock as well. Also a factor is the increase in worldwide meat consumption.
The only significant change in the canned goods aisle was on Green Giant peas, down 9 percent since February and 15 percent since March 2010.
After going down slightly the price of butter increased again last month and is nearly a dollar per pound more expensive than last year. Also in the dairy case, the price of a pound of Blue Bonnet margarine is up 9 percent and both skim and whole milk are higher for both the month and year.
Both the miscellaneous and drinks categories remained stable for the month and year overall. Coffee prices are finally coming down slightly for the month but are still 14 percent higher than the 2010 cost.
Oranges and grapefruit are still at their peak, but tangerines are moving out of season. Fresh pineapple and strawberry supplies will be plentiful through summer. California long white and new red potatoes are coming into season.
The Market Basket Report is a bi-monthly survey of 41 commonly purchased grocery items. Four major supermarkets in the Plattsburgh area are surveyed and data is compiled and reported by the Technical Assistance Center at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.