Fresh Produce Spending for 2017 is Up, But Trails Food Spending

Fresh Produce Spending for 2017 is Up, But Trails Food Spending

While consumer spending on fruit and vegetables increased in 2017, it still trailed the percentage hike in overall spending on food.

The data is found in the 2017 Consumer Expenditures report published by The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall total consumer spending increased 4.8 percent in 2017, following an increase of 2.4 percent in 2016. The report said the average annual expenditures by consumer units increased from $57,311 in 2016 to $60,060 in 2017. 

Spending on fruits and vegetables totaled $837 in 2017, an increase of 6.9 percent compared with 2016, which compares a 7.3 percent increase in spending on all food.

Food-at-home spending rose 7.3 percent to $4,363 while food-away-from-home spending rose 6.7 percent to $3,365, according to the CE report. The percentage of total expenditures on food was reported at 13 percent in 2017, the same share as the previous three years.

The mean average spending across all consumer units was $274 for fresh vegetables and $314 for fresh fruit. The share of fresh produce purchases compared to all consumer expenditures was 0.5 percent for fresh vegetables and 0.5 percent for fresh fruit.

By the age of consumers, for example, top spending consumers for fresh fruit were in the 45 to 54 age bracket, with mean expenditures of $378 or 2017. That compares with just $176 spend on fresh fruit for consumers aged under 25.
For fresh vegetables, the 35 to 44-year-old age group was top rated, with 2017 mean expenditures of $329 compared with $138 for consumers under age 25.

Not surprisingly, the report said that top spenders on fresh produce were top earners. Consumers making more than $200,000 per year spent an average of $529 on fresh vegetables, compared with $140 for those making less than $15,000. But consider the consumer making less than $15,000 was spending 0.6 percent of income on fresh vegetables, compared with 0.3 percent for the consumer making more than $200,000.

There is more micro-analysis where that came from. The report shows spreadsheets for spending by income before taxes by quintile, decile, and range; age of the reference person; size of the consumer unit; composition of the consumer unit; number of earners; housing tenure (homeowner or renter) and type of area (urban or rural); region of residence; occupation; highest education level of any consumer unit member; race; Hispanic or Latino origin; and generation of reference person.