Well, it may not be an actual Cabbige, but for this inaugural post on pricing trends, I decided to go with the in-season veggie that most resembles a cabbage… a head of lettuce.
So commonplace, so innocuous, and yet, the price variations for heads of lettuce around the city vary by as much as $1.00 or 50%!
I visited markets in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville last week and found that certified organic heads of lettuce were going for as little as $2.00 and as much as $3.00 each.
The graphic below illustrates the impact that the different prices have at different volume levels.
What can account for this price variation? The weather went from tolerable to truly crummy to completely gorgeous throughout the week, which can account for a variation in sales and subsequently prices. Should it, though? That’s a question for a future post.
The truly astounding discovery, though, was a $14.00 delta in the price of spring mix! Across the three markets the price per pound of spring mix was anywhere from $6.00-$20.00, which is a variation that no amount of sunshine or rain can account for. The average (mean) price across all farms was $10.33/pound; the median price was $13.00/pound, but, interestingly, the mode (most frequent data point) price was $7.00/pound. This is only one data point, and far from conclusive, but it indicates that the market hasn’t settled on a fair price for spring mix and that most farms are under-pricing it.
We’ll continue examining the pricing trends across markets next Tuesday and welcome all questions and feedback in the comments section.