Back in Britain after a spell abroad, I can feel my healthy, sun-kissed diet go down the tube. In Italy, we had been enjoying large quantities of peaches, apricots and nectarines for €1.50 to €2 a kilo, and cherries for €2.50 to €5. That’s for large, mature fruit, streaming with juice, not the puny, green specimens that sit on UK shelves, where one solitary nectarine can knock you back a cool 69p each, and ‘home ripening’ apricots - code for never-ripening, prematurely picked apricots - are retailing at £8.99 a kilo.

Shocked by the prices, I readjust my buying strategy to focus more on UK produce, studiously avoiding the new season’s English plums, retailing nonchalantly at £5.98 a kilo. But even in the peak of the season, Scottish raspberries in my Scottish store are ‘on offer’ at an eye-popping £9.38 a kilo. Buy them in smaller packs, then you’re looking at £10.26, or even - gulp! - £14.71 for ‘speciality’ raspberries, whatever those might be.

”Transport alone can’t account for price disparities with Continent”

Most people don’t analyse prices because supermarkets make it hard to do so. Summer berries come in odd-sized containers - 170g, 195g, 320g, for instance - at a pick-up price of £1.99 or £2.99. With all those irritating odd numbers, few of us will bother to do the maths. Most will just take one look at the paltry quantity offered at the scary price and conclude we can’t afford them. Who has the budget to eat the recommended five (or seven) a day with mark-ups such as these?

It’s not as if the pickers in our fruit fields are any better paid than those in mainland Europe. Transportation alone cannot account for the yawning disparities in pricing between UK supermarket prices and those in mainland Europe.

Tellingly, both imported and UK-grown fruit & veg commonly cost half to two-thirds less from independent traders and markets. This week, a £2.99 spend at my local greengrocer bought me exactly twice the weight of Spanish blueberries, Scottish raspberries, and Italian cherry tomatoes that the nearest supermarket was offering. Frankly, I think our supermarkets are profiteering on fruit, and to a lesser extent, vegetables. The OFT or the Competition Commission should call them to account.

Joanna Blythman is a journalist and author of What to Eat