Introducing the Minnesota Pineapple Economic Indicator


It’s March in Minneapolis.

The thermometer just broke 40°F and there’s still inches of snow cover. Winter sustenance in the upper Midwest traditionally comes in two forms: canned or hotdish. Not the most uplifting and exciting dishes to get families through long, grueling winters, but economical.

Citrus fruits were a rarity, rare enough for oranges to be included in the treat bags given out after the elementary school Christmas program.

And according to the news media – we’re working through one of the hardest, coldest, financial winters in a nearly a century.

Yet, right now, at the Cub Foods up the street kiwi fruits are 4 for $1, mangos are 10 for $10, and pineapples are 2 for $5.

Admittedly, this isn’t as scientific as the Big Mac Index, but it’s quite remarkable, that a selection of tropical fruit can be grown, transported from South America (or Southeast Asia) to the middle of North America, in the middle of March, in the middle of a global economic winter, and sold for one or two dollars.

For my money it seems a more substantial – and more delicious – economic indicator is in the produce aisle.

16 April 2013 – Related:

“…bananas were first available commercially to American consumers in 1876…and sold for ten cents. In today’s dollars, that would be the equivalent of $3.00 per banana, or 1,150% more expensive than the 24 cents I paid at the local Safeway a few days ago!” – Mark J. Perry