The average cost of 21 basic food items at county grocery stores in April was just a few cents less than the U.S. city average for the same items.
The county average in April was $28.16; the U.S. average was $28.40.
Carroll's average was virtually unchanged from the average in March, which was $28.20. The U.S. average for March was $28.45.
The average for the South -- which includes Maryland -- in April was up 1 percent from March.
The market basket for the South does not include prices for milk, margarine and peanut butter, and so can't be directly compared with the county and U.S. city averages.
The average cost for the South in April was $22.83, as compared with $22.70 in March.
Each month, The Carroll County Sun collects prices for 21 items at five county stores.
The prices listed in today's chart were collected April 30 at:
* George's IGA, with stores in Eldersburg, Finksburg and Woodbine.
* Giant Food, which has a store in Westminster.
* Martin's Food Market, with stores in Westminster and Eldersburg.
* SuperFresh, with stores in Eldersburg and Westminster.
* Weis market, with stores in Hampstead, Mount Airy and Westminster.
Prices for the U.S. average and the South are collected by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics in Philadelphia.
The bureau chooses a mixture of name brands and generics and compares prices once a month at thousands of stores across the country, regional economist Maureen McDevitt Greene said.