JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Despite the prices of almost all food items going up, there are still ways to save money when shopping for groceries.

The biggest recent spike in prices is on pork, which is up more than 10 percent this year, and avocados, which are up 15 percent.

"Pork is worse because there is a virus and it's killing a lot of the herds of pork," said John Azar, president of sales at Azar & Co. Wholesale Meats. "It's making bacon in the stores $8 or $9 a pound. It's driving up the price of all the pork."

Azar says they hadn't raised their prices for four years, but with the recent drought and sick pigs, they've had to bump the price up to make a profit.

Over the past 10 years, beef prices have nearly doubled, with ground beef is now nearly $4 per pound -- about $1 per patty.

Hot dog prices are up 7 percent -- actually more expensive now than sausage.

The price of chicken is actually down to about $1.50 a pound because corn prices have dropped by 10 percent. Turkey prices have remained flat and production is rising due to the lower corn prices.

What's the most affordable meat?

"Leg quarters (are) still the most economical thing for families to afford," Azar said.

Avocados are up so high because of the concentration of growers in drought-stricken southern California. But as the nation's biggest growers of many types of produce, prices are up on many fresh fruits and vegetables.

A Winn-Dixie store director can't do anything about commodity prices, but has some advice on how to save money at the grocery.

"Take advantage of 'buy one get one,' especially items you can put in your pantry items you can stock up on that don't go bad (or) out of date," said Jonathan Hilmo. "You can stock up on those BOGOs and save some money."

Other shopping tips from Hilmo:

  • Buy midweek
  • Watch for specials
  • Buy in bulk
  • Use coupons
  • Shop generic