U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable retail inflation is expected to decline in 2012 from 2011 levels but remain above long-term historical averages.

Fresh produce price inflation will range between 3% to 4% in 2012, a moderate decline from the 4.25% to 4.75% price increases recorded in 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.

With eleven months of data in the book, 2011 fresh fruit inflation was 3% to 3.5% and fresh vegetable inflation was 5.5% to 6%, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service.

For 2012, fresh fruit inflation is predicted to range from 3% to 4% while retail fresh vegetable prices are projected to rise 3.5% to 4.5%.