Price check: Collier, Lee food prices overall hold steady during past month

Frank Murphy hands over wrapped chicken to Sheila Anderson on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, at Oakes Farm Market in East Naples. With the recent drought sweeping the nation, grocery stores are forced to adjust prices higher than normal. So far, according to Murphy, beef is up 30 percent, pork up 18 percent and chicken up 10 percent "and climbing" since August. Feeding livestock is the main issue; corn is up 23 percent globally. "It's the highest we've ever seen," Murphy said. "Veal? We're not even bringing in until prices settle."

Photo by COREY PERRINE, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Frank Murphy hands over wrapped chicken to Sheila Anderson on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, at Oakes Farm Market in East Naples. With the recent drought sweeping the nation, grocery stores are forced to adjust prices higher than normal. So far, according to Murphy, beef is up 30 percent, pork up 18 percent and chicken up 10 percent "and climbing" since August. Feeding livestock is the main issue; corn is up 23 percent globally. "It's the highest we've ever seen," Murphy said. "Veal? We're not even bringing in until prices settle."

In this July 15, 2012 file photo, the sun rises in Pleasant Plains, Ill. Corn stalks are struggling in the heat and continuing drought that has overcome most of the country. Federal scientists say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the Lower 48 states, breaking a record set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936 by 0.2 degree, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Records go back to 1895. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

AP

In this July 15, 2012 file photo, the sun rises in Pleasant Plains, Ill. Corn stalks are struggling in the heat and continuing drought that has overcome most of the country. Federal scientists say July was the hottest month ever recorded in the Lower 48 states, breaking a record set during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. The average temperature last month was 77.6 degrees. That breaks the old record from July 1936 by 0.2 degree, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Records go back to 1895. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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

What happens next to the prices remains to be seen.

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. The cost of center-cut pork chops decreased at several supermarkets.

North Naples resident Kent Conwell, a Target and Publix shopper, is concerned about food prices rising and is expecting prices to slowly increase.

Conwell, who recently purchased Hormel brand ground pork for $3.29 per pound at Target, said prices do affect what he buys.

"There are very few things that I buy now that I am not price-sensitive to," Conwell said. "If it goes way up in price, then I can live without it. I'll find some alternative."

Tammy Chabot, a Target shopper, said she expects food prices to increase due to the crop drought. When prices increase dramatically, she plans to shop for the best deals and visit local farmers markets more often.

Gas prices also could affect food prices; diesel fuel is used by many delivery trucks. The average diesel price in Naples was $4.029 per gallon Oct. 10, a decrease from $4.083 per gallon on Sept. 12, according to gasbuddy.com.

Here are some examples of food prices that went up:

**Publix brand top sirloin steak went from $6.99 to $8.99 per pound at the store near U.S. 41 and West Terry Street in Bonita Springs.

**Spiral double brown sugar Sam's Choice brand ham rose to $2.77 from $2.68 per pound at Walmart's store along U.S. 41 near Immokalee Road.

Here are some examples of prices that decreased:

**Walmart brand center-cut pork chops went from $3.88 to $3.68 at the store along U.S. 41 near Immokalee Road. Smithfield's brand pork loin center chops dropped to $3.09 from $3.59 at Sweetbay Supermarket, along Immokalee Road near Airport-Pulling Road.

**A pound bag of frozen Walmart brand whole kernel corn was 98 cents, compared to $1.08 a month ago. Target's brand frozen whole kernel corn dropped from $1.02 to 99 cents at the store along Immokalee Road.

**Ground chuck hamburger — 80 percent lean/20 percent fat — was $3.19, compared to $3.79 a month at the Sweetbay along Immokalee Road.

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

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