Fruit and Vegetable Prices
How much do fruits and vegetables cost? ERS estimated average prices for over 150 commonly consumed fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. Reported estimates include each product's average retail price per pound and per edible cup equivalent (the unit of measurement for Federal recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption). For many fruits and vegetables, a 1-cup equivalent equals the weight of enough edible food to fill a measuring cup. ERS calculated average prices at retail stores using 2013 and 2016 retail scanner data from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). A selection of retail establishments—grocery stores, supermarkets, supercenters, convenience stores, drug stores, and liquor stores—across the U.S. provides IRI with weekly retail sales data (revenue and quantity).
ERS reports average prices per edible cup equivalent to inform policymakers and nutritionists about how much money it costs Americans to eat a sufficient quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables. Every five years the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services release a new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with information about how individuals can achieve a healthy diet. However, the average American falls short in meeting these recommendations. Many people consume too many calories from refined grains, solid fats, and added sugars, and do not eat enough whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Are food prices a barrier to eating a healthy diet? ERS research using this data set shows that, in 2013, it was possible for a person on a 2,000-calorie diet to eat a sufficient quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables for about $2.10 to $2.60 per day. The report also illustrates the variety of fruits and vegetables affordable to a family on a limited budget. See:The Cost of Satisfying Fruit and Vegetable Recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines
ERS fruit and vegetable prices are updated periodically to coincide with the release of each new version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. When generating estimates using 2013 and 2016 data, ERS researchers priced similar fruit and vegetable products during both years. However, because of different methods for coding the underlying IRI data, the entry of new products into the market, the exit of old products from the market, and other factors, the data are not suitable for making year-to-year comparisons. These data should not be used for making inferences about price changes over time.