Buying 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables can be obtained for $2.10 to $2.60, analysis of grocery store prices by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reveals.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that people needing 2,000 calories per day include 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables in their daily diets. But according to ERS research, the average American adult consumes only 1.1 cups of fruit and 1.6 cups of vegetables per day.
The ERS recently analysed average 2013 grocery store prices and found that meeting the recommendations can be achieved for $2.10 to $2.60.
However, fruit and vegetable costs vary widely. “When expressed in cup equivalents, nine fruits (three fresh and six processed) cost less than $0.40 per cup equivalent. Watermelon ($0.21) and frozen concentrated apple juice ($0.27) were the least expensive. Twenty-six fruits (12 fresh and 14 processed) cost between 40 and 79 cents per cup equivalent. These include fresh apples ($0.42), oranges ($0.58), and grapes ($0.72). Twenty-seven fruits cost more than 80 cents per cup equivalent; most of these were processed fruits, such as canned pears packed in juice at $1.00 and canned cherries packed in syrup at $2.39,” reports the USDA publication Amber Waves.
And fresh items were not necessarily less expensive than processed ones. “For example, fresh carrots eaten raw ($0.23 per cup equivalent) were less expensive to consume than canned carrots ($0.52) and frozen carrots ($0.48). Fresh apples ($0.42) were similarly cheaper than applesauce ($0.58). However, canned corn ($0.51) and frozen raspberries ($1.47) cost less than fresh corn ($1.81) and fresh raspberries ($2.32), respectively,” it said.