A new series of industry groups identifies how energy and other costs contribute to the food dollar. According to the new series, energy costs are now 6 cents per food dollar, up from 4 cents in 1998. This reflects energy use throughout the food system, including processing, wholesaling, retailing, and foodservice. Prior series only reported energy costs in the processing, packaging, and foodservice industries.

Energy costs are a higher share of the retail price of processed fruit than of fresh fruit

The share of energy in the retail price of processed fruit is greater than that of fresh fruit. Although energy prices rose during the past few years, the cost of energy was only a small portion of food at home. Perhaps, the food industry reduced energy use to compensate. Meanwhile, consumers adjusted their purchasing habits. But despite rising energy costs, consumers are buying fewer organic fruits and vegetables and are paying a higher price for them.

Energy costs are a higher share of the retail price of processed fruit

While fruits are an essential part of our diet, they have little or no information about their environmental impacts. In this study, we took a life cycle approach to estimate the environmental impacts of processed fruit sold in the UK. Since only 7% of UK fruits are grown domestically, 70% are imported from outside of Europe. We analyzed 46 fresh and processed fruit products, comparing their environmental impacts by product type. At the product level, melons had the lowest impacts, while avocados and mangoes had the highest.

Free trade agreements affect fruit and vegetable prices in different ways, including transportation, refrigeration, and counterseasonal supplies. Even with the increased use of free trade agreements, prices for fresh and processed fruit and vegetables in the U.S. remain high. In fact, prices paid for fruits and vegetables have doubled between 1980 and 2005. However, there are concerns about the growing share of energy costs in the retail price of processed fruit and vegetables.