Gas price hike linked to fruit price increase

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St. Johns resident, Susie Schroeder’s grocery cart is full of something she knows will get expensive: fruit. However, a high bill will not stop her from loading her Kroger cart with strawberries, bananas, oranges and apples.

“Oh, I know the prices of fruit keep going up, which make it hard to buy,” said Schroeder. “I have to have it though because my husband is diabetic.”

Schroeder is right in her belief that fruit prices are rising. The price of fruit nationwide has increased 4.5 percent from Feb. 2012 to Feb. 2013, according to the Consumer Price Index released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It bothers me, but I know I have to do it,” said Schroeder. “I’m just happy that I can afford to do it because there’s a lot of people who need it and can’t afford to buy it.”

Other shoppers in St. Johns share Schroeder’s opinion. Judy Goerge said she tries to purchase fruit, but sometimes the high prices deter her from buying.

“I shop for my family so I try to buy a lot of fruit,” said Goerge. “When it’s on sale, I try to buy it, but sometimes I just don’t get it.”

The rise in prices may be attributed to several things. St. Johns Kroger Manager,
Lori Fluker said the fruit prices seem to fluctuate based on the time of year.

“Some of our fruit we get from out of country. We get a lot of stuff from Chile,” said Fluker. “That will make the prices go up.”

Fluker also said that bad crops can make the prices of some fruit skyrocket because it causes an excess demand and not enough surplus.

“Apples went up in price because a lot of Michigan orchards lost their whole crop last year,” said Fluker. “We had to get them from Washington, Oregon and some other states.”

Michigan State University Assistant Professor, Robert Richardson, is an expert in applied economics as well as food security and he said the increase in price may be due to a significant use of petrochemicals, which are costly.

“Many fruits are grown using chemicals derived from petroleum,” said Richardson.
“Furthermore, fruits coming a long distance, coming by boat or truck, will use more petroleum.”

Richardson said that when a consumer sees gas prices increase, they can assume that prices of other goods which use gas will increase as well.

“The price of the fruit reflects not just the farmer’s expenses and his land, but also the price of the chemicals used to produce the crop and the gas prices and the cost for a truck to bring the fruit from California or wherever,” said Richardson. “This all takes money.”

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