Market Basket up for the year

Prices remained stable in November's Market Basket, coming in at $94.08, down a few cents from $94.22 in October, and up 3 percent from last November's cost of $91.72.

For the month the only noticeable changes came on produce, which was down 4 percent and miscellaneous items, up 8 percent. For the year, meats, breads, cereals and grains, miscellaneous items and dairy products are all up; produce, frozen foods, canned goods and drinks are down.

In the dairy case, slight decreases on the costs of whole and skim milk and sliced American cheese offset a 48 cent rise on large eggs and 15 cent rise on butter. Butter is now 61 percent more costly than in November 2009, averaging $2.92 a pound; last year this item cost $1.82. Sliced American cheese is 61 cents cheaper than this time last year.

Canned goods remained stable overall with a decrease in the price of Del Monte fruit cocktail and an increase on diced tomatoes. Prices on this category have changed little in cost in the last year.

Although the cost of spaghetti and bread remained the same as in October, they are lower than last year at this time. In November 2009 there were many sales on flour and sugar; unfortunately these basic holiday baking ingredients cost 4 percent and 17 percent more this November.

The total for the items priced in the produce department is down slightly from last month. Carrots and potatoes, a staple for big holiday meals, are both down for the month and year.

Most frozen food costs remained stable for the month. For the year, store brand vanilla ice cream is 6 percent less, with the average price at $2.43.

The prices on specific cuts of meat varied this month as they usually do, but all cuts are more expensive than in November 2009. The lowest increases are 2 percent on both ground chuck and sirloin steak; the greatest increases are 15 percent on a pound of Oscar Mayer bacon and 19 percent on whole frying chickens.

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