CONCORD, N.H. – There goes another excuse for not eating more vegetables.
A government study found that though many people say cost prevents them from eating more produce, consumers can get the recommended three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables daily for just 64 cents.
That would account for 12 percent of daily food spending per person, which averaged $5.50 in 1999.
“That’s a lot of good nutrition for only 64 cents, only 225 calories and less than 1 gram of fat,” said the study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “That leaves 88 percent of their food dollar left for the other three food groups.”
The study, which is based on information collected by A.C. Nielsen from 7,195 homes in 1999, looked at how consumers spent nearly $223 billion at supermarkets, other retail stores and farmers markets. It did not include restaurants.
More than three-quarters of the fruits and vegetables included in the study cost less than 50 cents a serving.
The study rated produce by cost-per-serving. Among fresh vegetables, peas cost the most, at 91 cents per serving. Cabbage and potatoes were the least, at 4 cents and 6 cents respectively.
For fresh fruit, blackberries topped the list at 66 cents per serving, followed by raspberries at 64 cents. Watermelon and apples tied for least expensive, at 11 cents.
Among 27 fruits the USDA examined, Americans spent the most on whole oranges, bought the most pounds of bananas and ate the most servings of apples.
Of 30 vegetables considered, potatoes dominated. People consumed more than four times as many servings of potatoes as they did tomatoes, the second most popular vegetable.