Fresh fruit and vegetable prices at grocery stores fell in September, even as overall food prices rose fractionally.
The Commerce Department’s September Consumer Price Index revealed fruit and vegetable prices were down 0.4% compared with August, pulled lower by a 0.9% decrease in fresh fruit prices. Overall consumer food prices were 0.1% higher in September after a 0.2% increase in August.
The U.S. average retail price in September for fresh oranges was $1.30 per pound, off from $1.44 per pound in September a year ago. The U.S. average retail price for red delicious apples in September was $1.53 per pound, up from $1.51 per pound the same time a year ago. The average retail banana price was 60 cents, down from 61 cents per pound at the same time a year ago.
Fresh vegetable prices rose 0.8% in September compared with August, but the Commerce Department said the fresh vegetable index is still 4.9% below year-ago levels.
Fresh potato prices in September were 1.9% lower than August and 13.6% below year ago levels. Retail prices for lettuce were 1.1% above August but 3.4% below year ago levels, according to the report.
Fresh tomato prices in September were up 2.9% from August but still 4.9% below year ago levels. The average retail price for tomatoes in September was $1.38 per pound, down from $1.50 per pound the same time a year ago, according to the report.