How much do vegetables cost? It depends.

A chart showing the number of vegetables in seven price ranges.

Eating a variety and sufficient quantity of vegetables is an important component of a healthy diet. But is price a barrier? ERS estimated average prices paid in 2008 for 94 fresh and processed vegetables (including beans and peas) measured in cup equivalents. A cup equivalent is the edible portion that will generally fit in a 1-cup measuring cup; 2 cups for lettuce and other raw leafy greens. The actual amount of vegetables a person should eat per day depends on age, gender, and level of activity. For example, for a 2,000-calorie diet, 2 and 1/2 cup equivalents of vegetables per day is recommended. ERS researchers found that fresh iceberg lettuce, fresh whole carrots, dried pinto beans, and 9 other products cost less than 30 cents per cup equivalent, while 41 vegetables, including fresh romaine lettuce, baby carrots, and canned tomatoes, cost between 30 and 59 cents per cup equivalent. The data in this chart are from ERS's Fruit and Vegetable Prices data product on the ERS website, updated February 2011.

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