U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable retail inflation is expected to decline in 2012 from 2011 levels but remain above long-term historical averages.

Fresh produce price inflation will range between 3% to 4% in 2012, a moderate decline from the 4.25% to 4.75% price increases recorded in 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.

With eleven months of data in the book, 2011 fresh fruit inflation was 3% to 3.5% and fresh vegetable inflation was 5.5% to 6%, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

For 2012, fresh fruit inflation is predicted to range from 3% to 4% while retail fresh vegetable prices are projected to rise 3.5% to 4.5%.

The USDA said retail price inflation in 2011 for all food is projected to increase 3.25% to 3.75% in 2011, while food away from home prices are projected to rise 2% to 2.5%.

In 2012, the agency said that all food prices will increase 2.5% to 3.5% over 2011. Food at home prices in 2012 will rise 3% to 4%, while food away from home prices are projected to increase 2% to 3%.

Price levels in 2012 will depend on factors such as weather conditions, currency values and fuel prices, according to the USDA.