Even when shopping at large chains like Costco or Walmart, a raspberry will not be cheap. The costs of fresh raspberries are determined by a range of different factors, but generally stay within a specific price range.
In the USA, according to Walmart, fresh raspberries cost $5.98 USD for 12 oz (about $0.50 USD per oz). The price may go up depending on portion size, ripeness, seasonality, and country of origin.
It will also matter if the berries are of the ‘organic’ or ‘regular’ variety. Costco mainly sells organic fresh raspberries at a cost of $7.45 USD per 12 oz (about $0.62 USD per oz). Average prices tend to increase over time, mainly due to inflation and a wide range of different production factors.
What Determines The Cost Of Raspberries?
The cost of raspberries is primarily determined by their seasonality and the intensive labor required to produce them. Stores package raspberries in different portion sizes, which will also impact the price per berry significantly.
Industry-scale production is impacted by the seasonal nature of the berries. This is generally only possible in greenhouses or hydroponic installations, which are relatively costly to run.
The delicate nature of raspberries means that they almost always need to be picked by hand (although this is sometimes automated these days), which means labor costs for harvesting make up a large portion of the price. According to The Guardian, as much as half of the price of raspberries is determined by the cost of labor.
Why Are Raspberries So Expensive?
Raspberries are expensive because they are very delicate and highly perishable fruits. This impacts harvesting, storage, and transportation a lot. Picking raspberries makes them especially expensive, considering manual labor is usually required.
Production costs with regard to transportation and storage have also skyrocketed in recent years. Soaring energy prices and fuel costs have caused prices in stores to increase significantly year over year. This is not limited to just fruits — inflation has negatively impacted the majority of prices in stores.
Where Do Raspberries Come From?
According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AGMRC), most raspberries in the USA come from farms in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Most imported raspberries in the USA come from Mexico ($432 million USD export value).
Interestingly, the biggest raspberry-producing country in the world is Russia with an impressive 143 thousand tonnes in the year 2013. Global economic sanctions due to the Russo-Ukrainian war of 2022 have severely impacted the Russian export of raspberries to foreign countries.
Since the production in the USA is concentrated within the country and in Mexico, the American fruit market remains largely unaffected by global geopolitics. Rising fuel and energy prices did impact the cost of fresh produce somewhat.
Strawberries Or Raspberries: Which Is Cheaper?
Strawberries are generally easier and cheaper to grow than raspberries because they are less sensitive, can be grown in a wider range of climates, and require a lot less labor to produce.
The availability of strawberries over raspberries is clear as day: you can find strawberries relatively cheap throughout the year, while raspberries are harder to find. You might even have noticed it in your local supermarket. The cost of a container of raspberries is usually higher and you’ll get a lot less of the fruit per dollar.
Comparing these two popular fruits might not be totally fair, since the intricate flavor, health benefits, and uses differ a lot. It’s quite literally like comparing apples to oranges: it’s simply not the same fruit!
Are Frozen Raspberries Cheaper?
In general, frozen raspberries will be significantly cheaper than their fresh unfrozen counterparts. In the USA, Walmart sells whole frozen raspberries for $2.98 USD per 12 oz (about $0.25 USD per oz), which is roughly half the cost of fresh raspberries.
Frozen raspberries are generally 50% cheaper than fresh raspberries because the seasonality of the fruit is removed from the cost equation. Shelf life is significantly longer and transportation is cheaper, since frozen fruits are not damaged as easily.
Freezing raspberries is a useful method to store raspberries longer. However, please be mindful of the fact that the freezing process will impact flavor: freezing the fruit is known to give sweet raspberries a sour taste.
Expensive Raspberries Are Worth It
While your favorite fresh berry might not be the cheapest, investing in your health is important. You might know that most Americans don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables. According to the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1 in 10 Americans will eat sufficient fresh healthy produce.
Let’s change that figure together! Living healthy means saving on medical bills, which is already enough to justify the relatively high price point of your favorite fruits. So why worry about the costs, if you can save a lot down the line ánd feel better about yourself?
Not only are raspberries extremely tasty, but these seed-filled health bombs are simply great sources of vitamins and minerals. If you happen to be one of those nine Americans that doesn’t eat their daily fruits and veggies, now is the time to change that!