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US: Fresh foods are spared from rising prices

News reports are buzzing about rising food prices due to global supply challenges, and consumers are feeling the pinch. The Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service recently reported a 2.5 million increase in low-income U.S. households that sought food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from fiscal year 2008 to 2009, bringing the total to 15.2 million households.

So far, the fresh departments are resisting the price increases. Average retail prices declined or held steady across all five fresh departments in supermarkets during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 25, 2010. The only exception was bakery’s average promotional price increase of 0.9%.

Promotions played a primary role in keeping prices low, with average promotional prices declining more than non-promotional prices in three of the five fresh departments. Produce department price declines were driven by staple categories such as potatoes and bananas, down 12.7% and 6.7% respectively, while fruits with traditionally higher price points, including grapes and cherries, suffered double-digit price increases.


Publication date: 11/24/2010


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