Price check: Food prices hold steady in Southwest Florida

Schweikhardt uses a calculator to manage her grocery budget.

Photo by WILLIAM DESHAZER, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Schweikhardt uses a calculator to manage her grocery budget.

Karen Dunlap didn't stay away from buying meat products because of higher prices during a recent visit to Sweetbay Supermarket along Immokalee Road.

"The prices are horrible," said the 65-year-old North Naples resident.

"I don't know how people with families can feed their children."

Dunlap said her daughter, who has four teenage boys and lives in Indiana, spends more than $500 a week on groceries.

Food prices that consumers feared would rise because of severe weather damage to crops this past summer in the farm belt remain about the same in Southwest Florida.

To gauge the extent of what nature has done to food prices, the Daily News is tracking at several stores and reporting on the price of 11 food items that might be affected by severe weather damage to crops.

But the majority of food prices held steady in the past month.

Dunlap, who bought steak for $6.39 per pound and boneless pork ribs for $3.05 per pound, said she is fortunate enough to not have to go without a food item she wants and knows many people go without certain food items as prices rise.

Ham prices are slowly creeping up at several supermarkets, yet the cost of center-cut pork chops decreased at other supermarkets.

Some items, such as Publix-brand top sirloin steak, returned to its price of two months ago — of $6.99 — at the store near U.S. 41 and West Terry Street in Bonita Springs. Also, the Wal-Mart-brand pork chops returned to their cost of $3.88 per pound along U.S. 41 near Immokalee Road.

Ron Davis, 46, said he is used to food prices rising over time.

"When fuel costs go up, transportation goes up," the North Naples resident said. "Bottom line, food prices will go up."

However, diesel fuel prices are dropping.

Gas prices also could affect food prices; diesel fuel is used by many delivery trucks. The average diesel price in Naples was $4.003 per gallon Nov. 7, a decrease from $4.083 per gallon on Sept. 12, according to gasbuddy.com.

Here are some examples of food prices that went up from Sept. 12 — two months ago:

Spiral double brown sugar Sam's Choice brand ham increased to $3.68 from $2.68 per pound at the Walmart store along U.S. 41 near Immokalee Road. Publix brand of honey-cured spiral sliced ham was $3.99 per pound, compared to $2.99.

Ground-chuck hamburger — 80 percent lean/20 percent fat — was $3.99 per pound, compared to $3.79 two months ago at the Sweetbay along Immokalee Road.

A one-pound bag of frozen Target brand whole kernel corn rose to $1.14 from $1.02 at the store along Immokalee Road.

A box of Old El Paso brand crunchy 12 hard taco shells was $1.39, compared to $1.27 two months ago at the Target store along Immokalee Road.

An 8-pound bag of Purina One brand smart blend dog food rose to $14.69 from $13.89 at the Publix's store near U.S. 41 and West Terry Street in Bonita Springs.

Here are some examples of prices that decreased:

A one-pound bag of frozen Wal-Mart brand whole kernel corn was 98 cents, compared to $1.08 two months ago.

Smithfield-brand pork loin center-cut chops dropped from $3.59 per pound to $3.39 at the Sweetbay. Hormel-brand pork chops were on sale for $3.29 at Target, compared to $4.29.

Archer Farms-brand of spiral cut ham dropped to $1.89 per pound from $2.99 at the Target store.

A 15.25-ounce can of Green Giant brand whole-kernel corn/sweet corn dropped from 87 cents to 78 cents at the Target. At the Sweetbay, a can of Green Giant brand whole kernel corn/sweet corn was 99 cents, compared to $1.19.

A one-pound bag of Purina One-brand smart blend eight-pound dog food went from $11.79 to $11.29 at the Target.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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