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    Fruit Vegetable Price Index US

    Fruit and Vegetable
    Price Index 2020

    At ReadtheLabl, analyzing food prices and their nutritional value is vital to providing our customers with the best possible products. While looking into how Americans access their daily recommended vitamins and minerals, we decided to investigate the cost and affordability of fruits and vegetables in the US, as well as those around the world. The data yielded some interesting results; not only did the price of fruit and vegetables vary quite significantly from US region to region, but there was also an enormous disparity in their affordability when compared to other countries around the world.

    We began the study by selecting a basket of four fruits and twelve vegetables that are commonly found in grocery lists. We then collected the average prices for every item across the US and in 39 other countries, calculating how far the price deviated from the national and international medians. To determine affordability based on these prices, we also calculated how many hours on minimum wage a citizen in each country would have to work to meet the recommended daily minimum intake of fruit and vegetables per day, for a whole month. This intake is recommended as equivalent to 0.88 lbs of fruit and vegetables per day, according to the World Health Organization. The result is a comparative index that reveals the deviations in prices and affordability of common fruit and vegetables in the US and around the world.

    “We may want to believe that families in the US have adequate access to nutritious food compared to other countries in the world, but according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an estimated 11.1 percent of American households, including children, were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2018,” says Kent Wood, CEO and Founder of ReadtheLabl. “We conducted this study to examine what the financial barriers may be for both US and global families in order to be healthier, and the differences in affordability of fruit and vegetables have been eye-opening. It’s our hope that the results can help shed some light on this disparity not only in the US, but on a global scale.”

    Each column in the table below is filterable. By default, the table is ranked by the final column; the hours need to be worked at minimum salary to afford 0.88 lbs of fruit and vegetables per day for a month. The full methodology explaining how the percentage deviations and numbers of hours worked for each US region and international country were calculated can be found at the bottom of the page.

    Legend

    Fruit
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Oranges
    Vegetables
    • Bell Peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflowers
    • Eggplants
    • Garlic
    • Onions
    • Potatoes
    • Spinach
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Tomatoes
    • Zuchinni
    TOTAL
    • % Price deviation
      from average
    • Hours at minimum
      salary worked
      to afford 0.88 lbs
    THE BREAKDOWN OF REGIONS FOR THE USA WAS CHANGED FROM THE TRADITIONALLY KNOWN REGIONS TO BEST REPRESENT FOOD LOGISTICS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.
    21.84% 10.60% 19.86% -1.18% -8.33% 0.22% -7.94% -12.66% 16.11%
    Most Expensive
    Least Expensive

    us Results

    FruitS Vegetables Total
    # Region
    1 South-East -3.49% 18.80% 18.29% 22.90% 27.48% 16.75% 5.73% 0.00% 5.74% 0.00% 42.26% 57.59% 39.61% -5.97% -5.86% 17.91% 16.11% 4:50:08
    1 Mid-North 34.11% 5.13% 37.80% 28.97% 20.61% 0.00% -2.60% -2.37% -2.46% 38.89% 8.33% 15.19% -27.27% -8.96% 19.78% 4.48% 10.60% 4:47:53
    1 South Central -17.44% -16.24% -40.65% -7.94% -8.40% -0.48% -16.15% -5.14% -22.95% -18.52% 24.40% -13.29% -24.03% -2.99% -20.88% -11.94% -12.66% 4:26:59
    1 East Central 23.26% 8.55% -20.33% 0.00% -2.29% -28.71% -11.46% 21.34% 24.59% -20.37% 0.00% 0.00% -8.44% 0.00% 27.84% -10.45% 0.22% 4:16:50
    1 North-West 39.15% 1.71% 32.52% 26.17% 17.56% 17.22% 0.00% 2.37% 28.69% 29.63% -11.90% 0.00% 11.69% 56.72% 72.53% 25.37% 21.84% 4:05:34
    1 Central -10.47% -11.97% -28.05% -1.40% -6.11% -18.66% 0.00% -9.49% 0.00% 3.70% -7.14% 2.53% -12.34% -4.48% -23.44% -5.97% -8.33% 3:34:36
    1 North-East 9.69% -5.13% 30.49% 19.63% 23.66% 13.40% 16.15% 13.04% 2.46% 5.56% 39.29% 44.94% 18.18% 16.42% 49.08% 20.90% 19.86% 3:28:42
    1 Central West 0.00% -4.27% 0.00% -7.01% -11.45% 2.87% 0.00% 18.58% -13.93% -7.41% 0.00% -31.01% 1.95% 34.33% 0.00% -1.49% -1.18% 3:11:38
    1 South-West -11.24% 0.00% -32.93% -20.56% 0.00% -14.35% -5.21% -9.09% -1.64% -9.26% -14.29% -14.56% 0.00% 11.94% -5.86% 0.00% -7.94% 2:59:21

    International Results

    FruitS Vegetables Total
    # Country
    1 South Africa -38.78% -13.28% -39.74% -15.46% -13.04% 5.84% -26.94% 3.01% 3.26% 25.64% -21.37% -23.56% -42.99% 2.07% -64.84% 25.93% -14.64% 40:08:19
    2 Egypt -1.36% -27.34% -12.82% -75.95% -53.62% -48.45% -26.03% -46.49% -42.39% -76.92% -56.41% -44.89% -24.30% -48.97% -79.34% -25.93% -43.20% 32:12:14
    3 India -9.52% -25.00% -50.43% -50.52% -59.42% -78.69% -62.56% -83.95% -78.26% -33.33% -45.30% -76.89% -91.59% -55.86% -89.45% -70.37% -60.07% 29:23:34
    4 Thailand 95.24% -17.19% 54.70% 38.83% 86.96% -30.58% 47.03% -4.35% 9.78% 7.69% -19.66% -0.44% -20.56% -28.28% -54.73% 20.37% 11.55% 24:29:34
    5 Russia -26.53% -27.34% -61.54% -20.96% -21.74% 38.14% -45.21% -25.08% 53.26% -51.28% -63.25% -76.00% 87.85% -2.07% 12.09% -44.44% -17.13% 21:32:11
    6 China -55.78% 5.47% -7.69% 19.59% 0.00% 48.45% 18.72% 24.41% 28.26% -7.69% -28.21% -7.56% -31.78% -51.72% -42.86% -18.52% -6.68% 16:26:00
    7 Chile 44.22% -10.94% -1.71% 13.40% 49.28% -16.84% -5.94% -23.75% -11.96% 12.82% 7.69% 2.22% 71.96% 8.97% -34.51% -11.11% 5.86% 15:55:50
    8 Pakistan -1.36% -69.53% -36.75% -67.70% -56.52% -59.45% -44.29% -77.93% -78.26% -64.10% -59.83% -73.33% -98.13% -88.97% -83.74% -70.37% -64.39% 15:11:59
    9 Brazil 1.36% -33.59% -20.09% -41.58% -26.09% -13.40% -3.20% -29.10% -66.30% 10.26% -9.40% -24.44% -28.04% -69.66% -25.27% -55.56% -27.13% 14:15:32
    10 Colombia -7.48% -53.91% -36.75% -66.32% -42.03% -35.40% -47.95% -65.89% -78.26% -53.85% -54.70% -49.33% -44.86% -55.86% -57.36% -50.00% -50.00% 12:41:16
    11 Taiwan 129.25% 39.84% 35.47% 137.11% 76.81% 106.19% 79.91% 37.79% 58.70% 10.26% 27.35% 59.11% -18.69% 224.14% 70.99% 218.52% 80.80% 11:31:05
    12 Singapore 164.63% 149.22% 11.97% 73.20% 36.23% 103.44% 15.07% 65.22% 42.39% 0.00% 25.64% 0.44% -20.56% -0.69% -10.33% 107.41% 47.70% 11:00:55
    13 Czechia -46.26% 2.34% 19.23% -4.47% -11.59% -4.47% -16.89% 33.11% 14.13% -20.51% -39.32% -58.22% -38.32% 15.86% 5.05% -18.52% -10.55% 10:45:56
    14 Argentina -18.37% 5.47% -69.66% -49.14% -5.80% -40.89% -5.02% -47.83% -68.48% -5.13% -46.15% -41.33% 28.04% -65.52% -67.47% -61.11% -34.90% 9:02:44
    15 Croatia -45.58% 4.69% -51.28% -16.84% -14.49% 15.46% -26.94% -17.73% -23.91% -46.15% -42.74% -52.00% -5.61% -17.24% 0.22% 3.70% -21.03% 8:51:53
    16 Japan 295.24% 37.50% 155.13% 123.37% 46.38% -7.90% 321.92% 95.32% 2.17% 51.28% 202.56% 279.56% 36.45% 131.72% 174.73% 155.56% 131.31% 8:17:16
    17 Austria -5.44% 47.66% 6.41% -20.96% 86.96% 2.41% 17.81% 66.56% 61.96% 56.41% -15.38% 11.11% 167.29% 65.52% 9.45% 1.85% 34.97% 6:35:50
    18 UAE 51.70% 15.63% -40.17% -3.09% 73.91% 23.02% -8.68% -5.02% -50.00% -12.82% 2.56% -5.78% 214.02% -20.00% -28.79% 114.81% 20.08% 6:33:56
    19 Turkey -32.65% -5.47% -77.35% -37.46% -37.68% -63.57% -45.21% -67.89% -81.52% -5.13% -77.78% -76.89% -28.97% -50.34% -56.48% -70.37% -50.92% 6:30:12
    20 Hong Kong 10.20% 21.09% 34.62% 44.33% 57.97% -55.33% 59.82% 68.56% -14.13% -41.03% -0.85% 75.11% 51.40% -68.28% 25.27% 37.04% 19.11% 6:00:28
    21 Italy 14.29% 70.31% -44.44% 5.15% -11.59% 2.41% 36.07% -11.71% 51.09% 66.67% 18.80% 46.67% -26.17% 24.14% -0.22% 22.22% 16.48% 5:49:16
    22 US 87.76% -9.38% 3.42% 56.70% 101.45% 38.14% 74.43% 77.26% 38.04% 41.03% 57.26% 52.89% 43.93% 0.69% 36.70% 27.78% 45.51% 5:43:58
    23 Portugal -19.05% -17.97% 19.23% -38.83% 7.25% -38.14% -31.51% -31.10% -31.52% -41.03% 1.71% -20.00% 15.89% -21.38% -44.18% -38.89% -20.59% 5:12:54
    24 Saudi Arabia -19.05% -15.63% -38.03% -58.08% -39.13% 0.34% -12.33% -25.75% -77.17% -30.77% -5.98% -30.67% -68.22% -50.34% -30.99% -1.85% -31.48% 4:30:50
    25 Greece -12.24% -8.59% -8.12% -54.64% -5.80% -34.71% -28.77% -59.87% -57.61% 10.26% -48.72% -4.00% 5.61% 7.59% -27.47% -59.26% -24.15% 3:56:16
    26 Spain -31.97% -2.34% -57.26% -38.14% -36.23% -0.34% -36.99% -33.78% -31.52% -7.69% -27.35% -13.78% -32.71% -18.62% -42.86% -38.89% -28.16% 3:54:48
    27 Sweden 14.97% 46.88% 61.11% 49.14% 49.28% 146.05% 3.20% 34.45% 61.96% 100.00% -3.42% -8.44% 155.14% 55.86% 45.05% 53.70% 54.06% 3:54:33
    28 Canada 74.83% -17.97% 62.39% 34.71% 68.12% 18.21% 83.56% 130.10% -2.17% 43.59% 10.26% 139.11% 35.51% 25.52% 33.19% 5.56% 46.53% 3:51:09
    29 New Zealand 29.93% 37.50% 19.66% 41.58% 69.57% -18.90% 7.76% 56.52% 91.30% 164.10% 12.82% 30.67% 14.95% 46.21% 3.30% 79.63% 42.91% 3:45:31
    30 Finland -19.05% 13.28% 14.96% -31.96% 20.29% 16.15% 63.47% 41.81% 33.70% 0.00% 0.85% 5.78% 377.57% 62.76% 62.20% 1.85% 41.48% 3:34:10
    31 Belgium 47.62% -17.97% 14.96% 3.09% -8.70% 2.41% -52.51% 19.73% -10.87% 43.59% -35.90% 55.56% -27.10% 53.10% 29.23% -18.52% 6.11% 3:25:14
    32 Mexico -23.81% -28.13% -12.39% -36.77% 21.74% -45.02% -43.38% -3.01% -43.48% -17.95% 2.56% 16.44% -61.68% 17.24% -35.82% -55.56% -21.81% 3:21:40
    33 Australia 4.08% 86.72% 19.23% 47.77% -4.35% 45.70% 23.29% 125.42% 60.87% 141.03% 52.14% 91.11% 186.92% 26.90% 59.12% 22.22% 61.76% 3:14:32
    34 Norway 121.77% 30.47% 26.50% 86.94% 75.36% 35.40% 35.16% 45.15% 114.13% 17.95% 26.50% 39.56% -55.14% 10.34% 67.47% 192.59% 54.38% 3:12:04
    35 UK 47.62% -21.88% 1.71% -28.52% -21.74% -31.27% -36.99% 11.04% 3.26% -38.46% 11.11% 45.78% 48.60% -53.10% 9.45% 14.81% -2.41% 3:03:35
    36 Denmark 44.90% 29.69% 14.53% 40.89% 73.91% 28.52% 13.24% 60.54% 67.39% 0.00% 14.53% 6.67% 79.44% 43.45% 40.66% 98.15% 41.03% 2:58:40
    37 Ireland -15.65% -2.34% 19.23% 17.53% 0.00% 7.22% 13.24% -13.71% -14.13% -33.33% 8.55% 33.33% -18.69% -4.83% 31.43% 38.89% 4.17% 2:54:10
    38 Germany -3.40% 38.28% -27.78% 36.77% -20.29% -31.96% 28.77% -35.12% 32.61% 7.69% 17.09% -28.89% 55.14% 44.83% 5.05% -7.41% 6.96% 2:46:24
    39 France 8.16% 24.22% -52.99% 3.09% 1.45% -31.96% 31.51% 13.71% -25.00% 71.79% 44.44% 6.67% 42.06% -6.21% -25.71% -42.59% 3.92% 2:15:16
    40 Switzerland 117.01% 57.81% 4.27% 67.70% 85.51% 23.02% 24.20% 44.48% 46.74% 48.72% 59.83% 52.00% 99.07% 140.00% 45.05% -11.11% 56.52% 2:03:48

    Methodology

    Methodology

    The Fruit & Vegetable
    Price Index 2020


    The Fruit & Vegetable Price Index 2020 compares and analyzes the cost of fruits and vegetables across the US, and a further 39 countries around the world. The study takes a comprehensive look into the average cost of the following four fruits and twelve vegetables:

    Fruits:
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Grapes
    • Oranges
    Vegetables:
    • Bell Peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflowers
    • Eggplants
    • Garlic
    • Onions
    • Potatoes
    • Spinach
    • Sweet Potatoes
    • Tomatoes*
    • Zucchini

    *Tomatoes are classified in the study as a vegetable under the culinary definition, rather than as a fruit according to the botanical definition.

    The fruits and vegetables above were chosen due to their popularity as common household staples, as well as for their availability in multiple countries, making them comparable on a global scale. The countries selected were chosen for their availability of data, as well as to provide a broad cross-section of prices from multiple continents.

    The index analyzes how far the price of each food item in every region deviates from the US median, as well as how far the US country average deviates from the global median. The individual deviations of all sixteen fruits and vegetables were then averaged to reveal the total deviation for each US region, as well as each international country. Average is defined as a number expressing the central value in a set of data, which is calculated by dividing the sum of the values in the set by their number. Median is defined as the middle value of a range of values. All prices were collected from national supermarket outlets at full price without discount.

    US REGIONS


    Rather than adhering to the five traditional US regions, the regions in the study were separated into nine different zones in order to better represent food logistics throughout the country. These nine regions were defined as follows:

    • South-East: Florida, Georgia, Alabama
    • East Central: South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio
    • North-East: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire Maine, Vermont, New York
    • Mid-North: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan
    • Central: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee
    • South Central: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi
    • North-West: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
    • Central West: Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado
    • South-West: California, Arizona, New Mexico

    Below you can find a description of price collection methods, deviation and affordability
    calculations expressed in terms of hours of work on minimum wage.

    Price Collection


    A standardized profile for each fruit and vegetable** was created in order to obtain comparable average prices across all countries. If the specified package size wasn’t available, the closest available package size was taken instead and standardized according to the profile in order to ensure comparibility. For example: profile for spinach = 1 package of 0.44 lbs. If a supermarket offered 0.55 lbs packages and 1.1 lbs packages, the 0.55 lbs package was chosen. The price was then divided by 0.55 and multiplied by 0.44 to fit the original profile. The profile weight for each fruit and vegetable included peel, skin, stalks and seeds.

    For the calculation of some prices, it was necessary to estimate the weight of certain fruits and vegetables as they were only indicated as price per piece. The estimates were based on information available from various online resources, online supermarkets that specified the weight of an item, as well as weights from a local supermarket.

    The price for each fruit and vegetable was collected between November 2019 and February 2020 from online supermarkets in every US region, and global country. It reflects the current price found in a mid-range supermarket, i.e. not in discount or speciality supermarkets**.

    The local VAT rate was added to prices from regions that levy taxes on groceries.

    Sources: Local online supermarkets.

    **Full details of the profiles used for each fruit and vegetable for the purposes of the study, as well as the names of the supermarkets, are available upon request.

    Calculation of
    Deviation


    Deviation from Median Price

    In order to determine the deviation from the median price, the representative US region price for each fruit and vegetable was compared to the median of all US region prices. The deviation from the median is calculated using the following formula:

    Example: Deviation of the price for bananas in the US South-East Region:

    In order to determine the deviation from the median price, the representative country price for each fruit and vegetable was compared to the median of all country prices. The deviation from the median is calculated using the following formula:

    Example: Deviation of the price for bananas in the UK:

    Hours of
    Minimum Wage
    Calculation


    The minimum wage for each US region was collected from the US Department of Labor. The minimum wage for each country was collected from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and local employment authorities. Wherever possible, the data for countries was collected as minimum wage per hour. Otherwise, the minimum wage per hour was calculated using the average number of hours full-time employees work in each country. If a country did not have regulations on minimum wage, the wages from a low-wage industry or informal minimum standards were identified and used. This was the case in the following countries: Denmark - Informal Minimum Wage, Finland - Cleaner, Italy - Farmer, Norway - Agriculture, Singapore - Cleaner, Sweden - Home Service Personnel, Switzerland - Hairdresser, United Arab Emirates - Informal Minimum Wage.

    In order to calculate the number of hours needed to work on a minimum wage to be able to afford fruits and vegetables, it was necessary to take the median price of all prices per US region or global country and standardize it to 0.88 lbs (including peel, skin and seeds). This intake is based on scientific guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), who recommend that individuals should eat at least 0.88 lbs of fruits and vegetables a day (excluding potatoes and other starchy tubers) for the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, as well as for the prevention and alleviation of several micronutrient deficiencies.

    This price of a day’s portion of fruits and vegetables was then extrapolated to a month and divided by the hourly minimum wage using the following calculation:

    Please note that this profile of 0.88 lbs of all fruit and vegetables included in the study does not reflect the standard quantities of servings, i.e., 0.17 lbs is not the average weight of 1 banana (0.26 lbs), nor 1 carrot (0.14 lbs). However, it is a representative price of the minimum amount of fruit and vegetables recommended by the WHO and as such serves as a comparative basis for this study.

    Furthermore, in order to adhere to the commonly-known 5-a-day principle (consumption of at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, i.e. 0.88 lbs), the average prices of garlic and potatoes were excluded from this equation. Potatoes are excluded as they mainly contribute starch to a diet, and garlic because it would be unlikely an individual would consume enough to constitute 0.17 lbs/serving.

    Sources: US Department of Labor, OECD, ILO, local employment authorities.

    All data was standardized to a common profile and currency. Currency conversions are according
    to the average exchange rate between January 25th to February 24th 2020.