Plastic containers of ripe cherry tomatoes
It Turns Out That Tomatoes Have Been The Least Affected By Inflation
By Arianna Endicott
Many different foods have been hit by inflation over the last few years, but tomatoes in the United States have been relatively stable throughout the changes. While tomatoes have still seen an increase in cost, the price hikes have been significantly reduced compared to other foods.
Among common fruits and vegetables, tomatoes saw the lowest increase in cost, at only a 1% price increase from June 2021 to June 2022, according to a BECU analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quartz reports that the pricing may have been stable because tomatoes have already seen higher prices over the last few years before the onset of COVID-19 supply chain issues.
Tomatoes imported into the United States also have a fixed minimum cost, ensuring that one exporter does not create a monopoly on selling the fruits. Additionally, tomatoes can be grown year-round in warm climates, so farmers do not need to wait to plant the produce seasonally — although droughts and weather changes can still cause cost increases and slowed production.
The United States is the second-largest producer of tomatoes in the world, behind China, producing nine to 14.7 million tons each year. Although tomatoes may be relatively safe from price inflation, plenty of other fruits and vegetables have seen steady cost increases, as the cost of oranges and lettuce rose by 11% from June 2021 to June 2022.