Apples to Oreos

Eat plenty of fruits and veggies! Everyone knows the old adage, but obeying it seems to be growing more and more difficult.

Eat plenty of fruits and veggies!

Everyone knows the old adage, but obeying it seems to be growing more and more difficult. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, consumers are now paying significantly more for fresh fruits and vegetables than they did 27 years ago. The price of cakes, cupcakes and cookies, on the other hand, has stayed relatively stable over that time. The difference in inflation rates between the two categories over the time span was 40%, the report showed.

The USDA’s study joins several others recently that have noted the widening price gap between healthful and processed foods. A December study from the University of Washington’s Center for Public Health Nutrition, for example, showed that the cost of low-calorie foods, including produce, increased by nearly 20% between 2004 and 2006, while the price of calorie-rich foods didn’t change.

All of this makes it harder for low-income shoppers to afford healthful foods, and for profit-sensitive retailers to take the lead on health and wellness.

“If grains, sugars and fats are the only affordable foods left, how are we to handle the obesity epidemic?” asked Adam Drewnowski, the center’s director, at the time the study was released.