Data miners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market News office are developing a weekly report to help consumers compare the costs of conventional vs. organic produce.
Information for the report will be gleaned from the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Market News reports, according to Audrina Lange, assistant to the director of Fruit and Vegetable Market News. She mentioned the new report during a Web seminar March 28 when she was discussing how the agency uses data from grocery advertisements.
The AMS Market News reports track weekly advertised prices of fruits and vegetables at retailers, in addition to other market data. Although the reports are available to the public, they are mainly used by businesses involved with the fresh produce industry.
Lange said during the Web seminar that the opportunity to provide pertinent information to consumers about retail prices of fresh produce could lead to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, which both the USDA and the White House have been heavily promoting in recent years.
Although no launch date has been set yet for the new report, Lange said it would like not be regularly available to the public until the agency can run a pilot project on it, which could take six months to a year.