Is fruit really too expensive?

On a recent shopping trip, I started thinking about the cost of produce—bananas to be specific. It seems their cost has really skyrocketed over the past few years. I’m probably dating myself by admitting that I remember when I could buy bananas for 25 cents a pound! On this shopping trip to a big box store, the cost was 64 cents a pound. Well, it’s no wonder families are tempted to buy snack food to satisfy their hungry members instead of produce. So, being a home economist, I decided to do a comparison. I bought 5 bananas that weighed 1.71 pounds; the cost was $1.09. That meant that each banana cost between 20 and 21 cents each.

Next, I strolled over to the snack aisle and looked at a package of taco chips. The regular size bag cost $3.99. How many bananas could I buy for the cost of a bag of chips? Nineteen bananas! For a family of four, each member could have a banana a day for about 5 days for the cost of one bag of chips.

I’m sure the chips would not last that long at most houses; but, neither would the bananas. The lesson for me was that fresh produce may seem expensive, but when you calculate it by serving (a banana is one serving), the cost is reasonable. The challenge is to know—and serve—just one serving. Fresh produce tastes so good it may be hard to eat just one. Sounds like the start of a campaign—”I bet you can’t eat just one.” Oh, right, that’s already been used with a chip commercial.

                                           -contributed by Susan Klein

One thought on “Is fruit really too expensive?

  1. I’d like to see some discussion on how to eat healthy all year long while eating local and taking into account the other factors involved with food other than just the chemical nutritional label and cost. Also, how can I do it as a vegetarian in the land of meat?

    I’ve cut down considerably on my bananna intake because these are all shipped in from South America. I also would like to see more information about the organic vs. non-organic food. I saw a list of foods on some webpage that listed veggies/fruits that should be purchased organic (e.g., potatoes) because these had the highest levels of pesticides, whereas other items (e.g., onions) could be purchased non-organic because they’re less likely to have pesticide contamination.

    Also, I’ve seen little discussion on all the other additives in food. I’ll find myself paying for higher priced food just so that I can avoid fungicides in my cheese, BHT & BHA in cereal (only Cheerioes seems to preserve with Vitamin E instead), various gums and fillers in my cottage cheese and ice cream, and various colors and preservatives in other foods. It can be hard to find items in the grocery store which provide both convenience and health. I’d love to make my own beans from the dry beans, in fact I used to when I had more time. They taste better and they don’t have any additives like EDTA. I don’t, however, have that kind of time anymore to make my own bread, beans, etc.

    Also, how does a person really cook a meal at home in 25-30 minutes?! For me, it takes 45 min to an hour just to make whole wheat pasta with olive oil from the time I fill the pot to the time the dish is ready to eat. The time estimate for home cooking on the website, I think, ignores the prep time and the cleanup time, both of which are tiring activities which are avoided by eating out.

    Anyway, what would be most helpful a tool for the website for me is something which helps me plan how to shop, buy, store food and cook at home (including prep and cleanup) quickly while taking account for lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, local foods (sustainable foods), and avoiding unnecessary additives, preservatives, and colorants.

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