The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market News office is developing a weekly report to help consumers compare the costs of conventional vs. organic produce.
Information for the report will be gleaned from data that is already being collected for the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Market News reports, said Audrina Lange, assistant to the director of Fruit and Vegetable Market News.
“Right now we are working on determining serving sizes per unit for all of the commodities. For example, how many cups of broccoli are in a bunch or a pound?” Lange said.
The same commodities listed in the weekly Fruit and Vegetable Market News report will be included in the cost comparison report for consumers, provided there are both conventional and organic varieties available.
The AMS tracks weekly advertised prices of fresh produce 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 the comparison report for consumers stems from the overall effort by the USDA and the White House to encourage Americans to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
“We are looking for ways to help consumers get the biggest nutritional bang for their buck and this report is one way we can show how affordable it is to eat fresh produce,” she said.
The weekly cost comparison report will be available on the Internet through the AMS Market News Portal at www.marketnews.usda.gov/portal/fv.
A specific launch date has not yet been set for the report. Lange said it will likely take at least six months for AMS staff to nail down serving sizes and complete a pilot run of the report before it will be ready for the public.