We can all expect to pay more for our food if the current drought in California continues. That's been well reported. But a new study shows that some items will be more affected than others. If you like avocados, grapes, lettuce and tomatoes, the news is not good.
A study by Arizona State University agribusiness professor Timothy Richards set out to find which crops were likely to be most sensitive to the drought, and how much their prices might increase.
Though almost all crops would probably suffer if the drought continues, some will be more affected than others because they demand more water. Also, some will see bigger price increases than others because they are market basket mainstays for which there aren't easy alternatives.
Richards' study found that nine popular items — avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads — would see the biggest jumps in prices.
He predicted a possible 34% increase in the price of lettuce and a 28% increase for avocados. "People are the least price-sensitive when it comes to those items, and they're more willing to pay what it takes to get them."
Other produce items expected to see higher prices include broccoli (as much as 22%), grapes (21%), tomatoes (19%), melons (18%), berries and peppers (14%) and packaged salad mixes (13%).
Richards' study is based on the assumption that the continuing drought would result in the fallowing of 500,000 to 1 million acres of farmland next year.