July 23, 2014
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials report that a decline in citrus production has pushed a spike in retail fresh fruit prices. U.S. consumers will be paying 6 percent more for all fresh fruit than they did a year ago.
Agency officials point out that citrus greening disease in Florida is a major factor behind the price hike. The retail cost of fresh citrus has increased more than 22 percent since December.
Late last year the agency predicted that overall retail food prices would increase from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014. So far, the prediction has proven to be accurate. In a recent publication, Food Price Outlook, the USDA found that the price index for all items is now 2.5 percent higher than it was in May 2013.
Since 1990 grocery store prices have increased by an average of 2.8 percent each year.
USDA data also indicate that the farmer’s share of the U.S. retail food dollar has declined from nearly 29 cents to 14 cents since the early 1970s.
The Food Price Outlook is available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings.aspx#.U86x0-NdXm8.