(Oct. 5) Retailers looking for a quick way to check on the competition have a new tool at their disposal.

On Oct. 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service was expected to launch its National Fruit and Vegetable Retail Report. The report, updated every Friday, provides retail prices for 27 vegetables and 22 fruits sold on ad that week, said Richard DeMenna, price reports section head for the service’s fruit and vegetable division.

The commodities chosen for each report are based on consumption rates and will change throughout the year, DeMenna said.

In compiling the report, USDA researchers plan to conduct daily surveys of the Web sites of more than 200 retailers. The report complements existing USDA fresh produce reports covering shipping-point and wholesale markets.

The USDA had already been surveying retailer Web sites for a retail poultry report, which made the addition of a fruit and vegetable report a natural fit, said Eric Forman, associate deputy administrator of the service’s fruit and vegetable division.

The report can be found at www.ams.usda.gov/fv.