COLLEGE STATION — Shoppers will have good reason to be jolly when they go to the grocery store this December.
“Just about everything will be on sale,” said Dr. Richard Edwards, food marketing specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. “Numerous products will be marked down lower than they will be in the upcoming months, providing an excellent opportunity for consumers to stock their shelves.”
The focal point of all the promotions will be the celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah, he said. But, bargains also will appear on items not associated with the holidays.
“The most widely promoted products will be those needed for preparing seasonal goodies,” Edwards said. “The deepest discounts in this category will be on sugar, flour, chocolate chips and eggs.”
Sugar will be on sale for less than $1 for a five-pound sack and flour will be priced at 89 cents for a similar sized package, he said. Chocolate chips will be reduced by at least 25 percent, as will eggs. Prices on both canned and condensed milk will be cut by 15 percent to 20 percent. A similar reduction will be found on frozen pie shells, refrigerated pie dough, canned fruit, butter, margarine and frozen desert toppings. Box mixes for cakes, cookies and brownies will be reduced about 10 percent.
December prices on most nuts will be higher this season than last because of lower-yielding crops in 1995, Edwards said. Prices for almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts will be up about 10 percent. Selection of fresh fruits and vegetables will increase in December. The biggest promotions will be seen on citrus, Edwards said. Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and tangelos will be marked down with specials on smaller-size fruit in prepacked bags.
Consumers will see increases in supplies of tomatoes, avocados, carrots, onions and celery. Occasionally, prices on apples, pears, spinach, broccoli, grapes, brussels sprouts, peppers and squash will be reduced about 10 percent.
“Prices on red meat have been creeping up during the past three months,” Edwards said. “This has been attributed to an increase in feed grains prices. Higher prices aside, weekly specials will be offered on beef, pork and poultry.”
The best specials will be found on turkeys, although prices will not be quite as low as those seen last month, he said. Store brand turkeys will cost between 39 and 49 cents per pound. The lower price may have some minimum purchase restrictions attached. National brands will be marked around 59 to 69 cents per pound. This will be the last chance to stock up on turkeys at this cost.
“Baking hens also are popular for holiday dinners and will be available for around 69 cents per pound,” Edwards said. “Other poultry specials available will be on whole birds for 59 cents per pound and boneless breasts at around $2 per pound.”
Beef specials will feature roasts – prime rib roasts between $4 and $4.50 per pound and boneless roasts at around $3 per pound. Non-holiday related specials will be on ground beef, round steak, sirloin steak and chuck roasts. Ground beef specials will range from 99 cents per pound for hamburger meat to ground round at $1.59 per pound. Round and sirloin steaks will be on sale for about $1.69 to $1.99, depending on whether the cut is boneless or not. The lower- end cut of chuck roast will be on special at $1.29 to $1.49, depending on the amount of bone in the cut.
Holiday pork specials will be limited to hams, said to Edwards. Boneless hams, both canned and refrigerated, will be available for between 15 percent and 20 percent of regular prices. Smoked hams with bone and added water will be priced at 99 cents per pound.
Other pork specials will be on chops for $1.59 per pound, smoked sausage and pan sausage for $1.49 per pound and bacon at 99 cents to $1.49 per package, he said. The lower price will be on the 12-ounce package of bacon.
“Non-food holiday promotions will include poinsettias, ranging from 99 cents for small plants to $10 for larger ones,” Edwards said. “Consumers should buy their poinsettias early in the month because retailers will not replace them once the inventory is sold.”