In the latest report by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service, fresh fruit and vegetables are most cost-effective for consumers while beef, veal, and eggs are experiencing high inflation this year. In 2015, retail fruit prices will continue to experience little to no inflation while vegetable inflation may reach only 1.5 percent, approximately half of produce’s 20-year average inflation rate. Cumulatively, fresh produce prices are increasing at a lower rate than the overall food price index, which the USDA forecasts will jump from 1.75 to 2.75 percent this year. The agency did not, however, make conclusive predictions about whether the exceptional affordability of fruits and veggies will last: its report said that “the ongoing drought in California could have large and lasting effects on fruit, vegetable, dairy, and egg prices” while conceding that low oil prices could decrease production and transportation costs built into the prices for these groceries.
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