There is so much to explore in the Consumer Expenditures report that is almost unfair. Here is one. In 2016, the average American consumer unit (2.5 person household) spent - wait for it - $1,124 per year on cell phone service, up 10% from 2015, up 17% from 2014 and 23% higher than 2013. Are you wondering how that compares with the annual spend on fresh fruits and veggies? Ah, yes, here is the brutal truth: the average household spent a combined $542 in 2016 on fresh fruits and vegetables, up only 2% from 2015, up 5% from 2014 and 7% higher than 2013.
 
Cell phone and smartphone companies have been much more effective in wringing dollars from American consumers than marketers of fresh fruit and vegetables. Is there an app to fix that reality?
 
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Talking with a Houston area distributor today, the topic of fuel shortages came up. Gas stations around Houston are seeing long lines and rising prices because of the shortages that are taking hold, not only on the Gulf Coast, but in many areas of the country. Gasoline futures spiked 10% this week.
 
To keep an eye on the recently volatile changes in the gasoline and diesel markets, bookmark this website
 
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Check out coverage in The Packer and in the Los Angeles Times of Dole as it prepares to go public.  The LA Times article describes the expected moves by Dole to sell its corporate headquarters and pull out of strawberry production in California as ways to “sweeten its books” ahead of its public stock offering.
 
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Trade barriers aren’t the way to fix nutrition,” a Foodtank.com opinion piece authored by Joe Glauber, a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C.
 
I never really thought of trade barriers as a way to fix nutrition, but perhaps I’m out of the loop. He does make a case that trade deals have added diversity to the American diet. From the piece:
 
“Even in rich countries, improved agricultural trade has improved diets by increasing the diversity of foods throughout the year. That avocado toast high in omega-3s you had at brunch in February might not have been on the menu then if not for increased trade with Mexico.”
 
 
Point taken and pass the avocado toast.