Retail produce sales spike as consumers react to Covid-19
The U.S. grocery sector has seen a huge jump in produce prices as consumers demand more during the economic uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Supermarket sales indicate a strong demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a report Monday by Category Partners.
An analysis of Nielsen U.S. data for the week ending Mar. 7 reveals that the produce sector of retail sales grew 3.8%. The spike in sales then increased 23.2% the following week.
Of these sales, fruit sales are up 18.8% for the week of Mar. 14. Vegetable sales, on the other hand, managed to surpass the growth of fruit with a gain of 27.3% as compared to the same week last year.
Less perishable fresh produce like potatoes and fresh tomatoes - 45% and 42% in respective sales growth - are outpacing other categories.
Also for the fruit and veggie industry, sales in frozen fruits jumped 73.2% from last year this time and frozen vegetables rose 68.9%.
Analysts at Category Partners provided insight to the emerging trends in sales. Retail is seeing some departments soar, it said.
"In general, the more an item or category is considered storable and a staple, the greater the increases in year-over-year growth triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. Consumers are still picking up highly perishable items for the next week, but they are stocking up on more ‘durable’ food items for a longer time horizon,” commented SVP of insights and innovation Steve Lutz in a release.
The company goes so far as to say the increase in sales "was so dramatic" and will indicate trends further into the future as consumers shift their buying habits and behaviors.
It is likely that the health crisis has spurred shoppers to buy more produce and modify how they approach buying.
So, despite the fact that some news sources indicated that consumers may reduce produce purchases in favor of non-perishable items, data shows otherwise. In fact, consumers are looking towards produce more than ever to stock their kitchen cabinets.