Fruits and vegetables not necessarily more expensive than less healthy foods

A chart showing the prices for fruits, vegetables, and less healthy foods measured in three ways.

Fruits and vegetables are commonly perceived to be more expensive than less healthy foods, perhaps fueled by studies that find that calorie-sparse fruits and vegetables are more expensive per calorie than less healthy foods. But when price is expressed per edible gram or per average amount consumed, the story changes. For example, using a 2004 USDA database of over 4,000 foods and their prices, ERS researchers calculate that fruits ranged from 13 cents to $1.65 per average amount consumed and vegetables from 6 cents to $1.27, while less healthy foods ranged from 2 cents to $3.04. The data for this chart come from the ERS report, Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? It Depends on How You Measure the Price, EIB-96, released May 16, 2012.

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