Fresh fruit inflation to slow in 2015

07/28/2014 05:10:00 PM
Tom Karst

Higher fresh fruit inflation in 2014 will be followed by moderate inflation in 2015, according to the latest food price forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. Department of AgricultureThe USDA’s Economic Research Service reported in late July that the agency expects retail fresh fruit prices to increase 5% to 6% in 2014, slowing to 2.5% to 3.5% inflation in 2015.

For fresh vegetables, the USDA predicts retail prices will increase 2% to 3% in 2014, followed by a similar increase in 2015.

From January through June this year, the USDA said retail fresh fruit prices have risen 3.8%, while fresh vegetables have increased 0.8%, according to the report.

While the drought in California has been scrutinized as a source of commodity shortages and price increase, the USDA’s report said the drought has not yet had a significant effect on national prices for fruits and vegetables, although it could be a factor in lettuce prices.

In June, the USDA reported fresh fruit prices fell 4.1% but remain up 5.8% since June 2013. A decrease in citrus prices led to a drop in overall fruit prices. Declines in prices for valencia oranges and limes were most notable, according to the USDA.

Led by a 5.7% price hike for lettuce, fresh vegetable prices in June increased 1.8% from May to June, according to the agency.

“While the drought may be a factor in this price increase, the U.S. demand for lettuce has increased both globally and domestically in the past month,” according to the report said.

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