Mr. and Mrs. Consumer can thank the fresh produce manager for a stable food bill.

October fresh fruit and vegetable retail  prices dropped 1.5% below September in the latest Consumer Price Index report.

The text news release fro the Consumer Price Index is  here

From the report: The food index decelerated in October, rising 0.1 percent after  rising 0.4 percent in September. The food at home index, which had risen 0.6 percent in each of the last three months, rose 0.1 percent  in October. The deceleration was largely due to the fruits and vegetables group, which fell 1.7 percent as the indexes for fresh  fruits and fresh vegetables both declined sharply.

With apples showing a 7.4% drop compared with September retail prices, the average retail price for red delicious apples dropped about 10 cents per pound - from $1.50 per pound to $1.41 per pound. It will be interesting to see if apple retail prices will now stabilize or if they will show continued pressure through the end of the year.

Retail citrus prices were off 5.8% and potato prices were down 6.8% from September.

Just as we think fuel prices may moderate and help ease inflationary pressures for all consumer goods, news from the Drudge Report says that oil was spiking again. Hold off on the gratitude, Mr. and Mrs. Consumer.

Speaking of retail prices, some are calling foul over a move to make retailers disclose how much they paid to farmers next to the displayed retail price. From the story in news.com.au:

A MOVE to force supermarkets to disclose the price paid to farmers for fresh food next to the retail price would mislead consumers into thinking retailers were ripping farmers off, a citrus grower says.

The Farm Gate to Plate Bill is being pushed by Independent MP Bob Katter and Senator Nick Xenophon as part of a package of reforms to bring about more transparency to the retail supply chain.

South Australian Citrus grower Cathy Lowe believes the proposed bill would mislead consumers into believing farmers were inadequately remunerated because the price given to them for fresh produce, otherwise known as the farm gate price, was significantly lower than the retail price.

The difference was due to the farm gate price not including expenses worn by retailers such as packing, transport, storage, and marketing costs, Ms Lowe said.

Scott Gregson, the commission's enforcement operations group general manager, said he wasn't aware of increasing retail profit margins on fresh produce.

But he believed some suppliers were reluctant to make complaints against retailers if they were paid less than expected because they didn't want to jeopardise commercial relationships.

"It certainly is possible that dissuades some parties who might otherwise come to us with concerns," Mr Gregson told Senator Xenophon.

 TK: A defense of supermarket pricing does come off better when said by a supplier. Of course, suppliers who would speak out in favor of a "farm to gate" labeling bill might find themselves with no retail customers to worry about, anyway.

Discussion topic of the week: What makes you optimistic about the future of the industry?

A reminder: Join the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group.Check out the stats from LinkedIn on the growth of the group.

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