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Price Trends Are Similar for Fruits, Vegetables, and Snack Foods

Price Trends Are Similar for Fruits, Vegetables, and Snack Foods

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Published by Ann Cook
By Fred Kuchler and Hayden Stewart

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-55) 29 pp, March 2008

An increase in the price of fruits and vegetables relative to less healthy foods could reduce consumers’ incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables and result in less healthy diets. Whether such a change in relative prices and incentives has occurred in the United States is difficult to prove because of substantial quality improvements in many fresh fruits and vegetables. For commonly consumed fresh fruits and vegetables for which quality has remained fairly constant, analysis of price trends reveals a price decline similar to that of dessert and snack foods. This price trend evidence suggests that the price of a healthy diet has not changed relative to an unhealthy one, although a healthy diet might not include every fresh fruit or vegetable currently available.
By Fred Kuchler and Hayden Stewart

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-55) 29 pp, March 2008

An increase in the price of fruits and vegetables relative to less healthy foods could reduce consumers’ incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables and result in less healthy diets. Whether such a change in relative prices and incentives has occurred in the United States is difficult to prove because of substantial quality improvements in many fresh fruits and vegetables. For commonly consumed fresh fruits and vegetables for which quality has remained fairly constant, analysis of price trends reveals a price decline similar to that of dessert and snack foods. This price trend evidence suggests that the price of a healthy diet has not changed relative to an unhealthy one, although a healthy diet might not include every fresh fruit or vegetable currently available.

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Published by: Ann Cook on Dec 02, 2008
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09/12/2012

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EconomicResearchReportNumber 55March 2008
United StatesDepartmentof Agriculture
EconomicResearchService
Fred Kuchler and Hayden Stewart
Price Trends Are Similarfor Fruits, Vegetables,and Snack Foods
 
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Kuchler, FredPrice trends are similar for fruits, vegetables, and snack foods.(Economic research report (United States. Dept. of Agriculture.Economic Research Service) ; no. 55)1. Fruit—Prices—United States.2. Vegetables—Prices—United States.3. Snack foods—Prices—United States.I. Stewart, Hayden.II. United States. Dept. of Agriculture. Economic Research Service.III. Title.HD9220.U62Photos: PhotoDisc and Comstock.
www.ers.usda.gov
 
United StatesDepartmentof Agriculture
www.ers.usda.gov
A Report from the Economic Research Service 
EconomicResearchReportNumber 55
Price Trends Are Similarfor Fruits, Vegetables,and Snack Foods
Fred Kuchler and Hayden Stewart
March 2008
Abstract
An increase in the price of fruits and vegetables relative to less healthy foods couldreduce consumers’ incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables and result in less healthydiets. Whether such a change in relative prices and incentives has occurred in the UnitedStates is difficult to prove because of substantial quality improvements in many freshfruits and vegetables. For commonly consumed fresh fruits and vegetables for whichquality has remained fairly constant, analysis of price trends reveals a price declinesimilar to that of dessert and snack foods. This price trend evidence suggests that theprice of a healthy diet has not changed relative to an unhealthy one, although a healthydiet might not include every fresh fruit or vegetable currently available.
Keywords:
fresh fruit and vegetable prices, price trends, quality change
Acknowledgments
The authors thank Linda Calvin, Elise Golan, Ephraim Leibtag, Gary Lucier, JamesMacDonald, Abe Tegene, and Jay Variyam (Economic Research Service, U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture). Thanks also to Mark Bowman (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)and to Parke Wilde (Tufts University). Thanks to Angela Anderson and Tom McDonaldfor their editorial contributions.

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