Retail prices for fresh fruit in the United States should rise by 2.5-3.5% in 2016, according to the latest USDA Food Price Outlook.
And those for fresh vegetables are forecast to rise 2-3%, it says.
The expected rises come after estimated deflation of 0.75% to 0.25% in 2015 for fresh fruit and vegetables overall.
Historical data indicate that fresh fruits and vegetables and egg prices are the most volatile food prices that ERS tracks.
“Prices for fresh fruits fell 0.3 percent from October to November but are 1.1 percent higher than in November 2014. Despite being higher year-over-year due, fresh fruit prices are still expected to deflate overall in 201. ERS expects fresh fruit prices to decrease 2.25 to 1.25 percent in 2015 due, in part, to the supply and price of imports.
“Fresh vegetable prices increased in November, rising 1.1 percent over October levels. Fresh vegetable prices are up 1.8 percent since November 2014, resulting in an expectation for prices to increase 0.75 to 1.75 percent in 2015. This does not say that the drought had no impact on fresh produce prices—other factors, such as the strength of the U.S. dollar and low oil prices, have placed downward pressure on retail fruit and vegetable prices,” the ERS said.
Supermarket image: By ProjectManhattan. (Own work.) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
What impact would it have if once a day a child’s energy-dense snack was instead replaced by a serving of fruit or vegetables?
Amid rising numbers of overweight and even obese children in the US, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has updated its assessments of just such an impact on both household food spending and children’s caloric intakes.
The ERS findings include that in most cases replacing a snack with a fruit or vegetable reduces calories consumed, and in some cases it is also cheaper. For example:
- Replacing a 2.6-ounce fruit Danish with 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce intake by 194 calories. It would also save a household 11 cents.
- Replacing a one-ounce portion of a chocolate-chip cookie for a 5.2-ounce portion of apples would reduce caloric intake by 46 calories, though it would cost the household an additional 20 cents.
Which fruit and vegetables are particularly good for kids’ snacks
The ERS estimated the average costs for 156 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables as well as the price per portion for 20 snack items commonly consumed by children ages 6-13, including salty snacks, baked and sweet goods, and frozen treats. It also identified and priced 20 fruits and vegetables seen as potential replacements for these snack foods.
The potential fruit replacements were apples, bananas, cantaloupe, tinned fruit cocktail, grapes, oranges, canned peaches, canned pineapple, plums, raisins, strawberries, tangerine and watermelon.
The vegetable ones were broccoli, carrots, celery, red peppers, sweet potatoes (cooked) and tomatoes (grape or cherry).
See the ERS data here.