Vegetables: U.S. retail growth on downward trend - FreshFruitPortal.com

U.S.: Weekly fresh vegetable growth at retail remains on downward trend

Weekly sales growth of fresh vegetables at U.S. retail remains on a gradual downward trend that began at the end of April, with the year-on-year growth having decreased from 30% to 17%, IRI data shows.

However, weekly fresh fruit sales growth has remained relatively stable during that, resulting in only a minor downward trend for total fresh produce, according to data cited in a joint report by IRI, PMA and 210 Analytics.

In the week ended June 7, vegetable sales were 17.1% higher year-on-year (from 19% the previous week), while fresh fruit was up at 10% (from 9%), and fresh produce was at 13.2% (from 13%).

The first week of June marks three full months of coronavirus-related shopping patterns and comes as restaurant competition for the food dollar slowly gears back up.

“The fresh produce industry is resilient,” said Joe Watson, VP of Membership and Engagement for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, retail has been the primary option for consumers to engage with fresh produce. As restaurant reopening across the country is bringing foodservice back online, demand is growing stronger each week.

"Understanding the changes and challenges ahead for our industry is of critical importance and staying connected on how we will worth together will bring forth successful solutions for all."

The week ended June 7 also saw fresh produce dollar growth surpassing volume growth, at 13.2% and 10.6% respectively. The gap was bigger for vegetables than for fruit.

Source: Source: IRI, Total U.S., MULO, 1 week % change vs. YA

The top three growth items in terms of absolute dollar gains for the week of June 7 versus a year ago were cherries, lettuce and tomatoes.

“Just barely beaten out by tomato sales gains, berries dropped out of the top three drivers of new dollars for the first time in many weeks due to cherries having a massive week once more,” said Watson.

“Cherries delivered an additional $25 million versus the same week year ago, representing a nearly 80% increase in dollars and +104.6% in pounds. Oranges and potatoes remained pandemic powerhouses even in the midst of the summer season with gains of 57.4% and 23.7% over the same week in 2019.”