Fresh fruit prices running hot at retail

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Restaurant food prices increased 0.6% in May and now are running 4% higher than a year ago, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says.

Supermarket grocery prices rose by 0.3% in May from April to May 2021 and now are 0.7% higher than May 2020, according to the USDA Food Price Outlook report.

So far this year, grocery food prices have increased 1.4% and restaurant food price have risen 2.5%, according to the report. Inflation for all food so far this year increased an average of 1.9%, according to the report.

Of all the grocery food prices tracked by the USDA, the fresh fruits category has had the largest relative price increase (4.8%) and the fresh vegetables category the smallest (0.3%). No 2021 grocery price categories decreased compared to 2020 prices, according to the USDA.

In 2021, the USDA said grocery food prices are now expected to increase between 2% and 3%, while restaurant food prices are expected to increase between 3% and 4%.

Fresh fruit prices decreased 0.1% from April to May 2021, but the USDA said prices are still 4.8% higher on average in 2021 than in 2020. 

Among the fresh fruit subcategories, the USDA said citrus prices had the largest relative price increase of 2.8% between April and May 2021.

Low production in Florida (oranges), California (lemons and navel oranges), and Texas (grapefruits) have tightened citrus supplies and increased prices, the agency said. Fresh fruit prices are now predicted to increase between 4% and 5% in 2021.

The USDA said farm-level vegetable prices increased 6.4% from April to May 2021, but remain 17.4% lower, on average, in 2021 compared to 2020. The USDA said farm-level vegetable prices are predicted to decrease between 10% and 13% in 2021.


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