Fresh produce dollar sales up, volume sales down in July 2022

Fresh produce dollar sales up, volume sales down in July 2022

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Fresh produce dollar sales up, volume sales down in July 2022

As inflation remains and fresh produce prices increase, consumer habits have been changing. In July 2022, fresh produce sales were up 4.2 percent, but volume sales were down 4.8 percent, compared to July 2021.

“Inflation, COVID and consumer mobility continue to change shopping and consumption patterns,” said Joe Watson, VP, Retail, Foodservice & Wholesale for IFPA, in a report by 210 analytics

“The consumer reactions to the current environment combined with supply side volatility are keeping all of us on our toes to understand the latest trends and quickly pivot accordingly,” he added.

In July, inflation was up 15.3 percent for grocery and 12.6 percent for perishables, so on the whole, fresh produce prices were up from last year, at 8.5 percent level on a per-unit basis and 9.5 percent on a per-pound basis. 

In addition, the price per unit across all foods and beverages in the IRI-measured multi-outlet stores accelerated further to an increase of 13.3 percent in the five weeks ending July 31st, 2022, versus a year ago. 

Moreover, fresh produce sales reached $7.7 billion, surpassing the record set the prior year by 4.2 percent. Fresh fruit added $163 million in sales and vegetables added $147 million when compared to July 2021. 

Gains were achieved in many different ways. Avocados, peaches, nectarines and plums had very high inflation, while pineapples and apples had below-average inflation, but robust demand pushed their performances into the top 10 in absolute dollar growth in July. 

The fresh share of the produce business has continued to rise steadily and while summer is a top season for fresh produce sales, July 2022 shows that consumers are not switching out of fresh produce because of inflationary concerns. 

However, overall, fresh produce pound sales trailed behind year ago levels all throughout 2021 and continue to do so thus far in 2022. In July, pound sales were down 4.8 percent year-on-year.

“Volume sales were a mix with increases for berries and pineapples but down results for all other top 10 sellers,” said Jonna Parker, Team Lead Fresh at IRI.

Berries continued to be the fruit category’s best seller in July. However, unlike in the month of May, where berry sales continued to be more than double that of melons, Parker said: “the gap with the number two, melons, was by far not as big as we’ve seen.”

“In part this has to do with below-average inflation, but we also saw cherries come on strong and mixed fruit moving back in the top 10 sellers due to the Fourth of July sales spike,” she added. 

On the whole, compared to 2019, pre-pandemic, prices across all foods and beverages were up 25.2 percent. Dollars remained 17.7 percent ahead and pounds stayed just above 2019 levels by 0.7 percent. Therefore, despite experiencing some volume pressure in the early months of 2022, fruit pulled even with 2019 levels on much better prices in July. 

Considering the outlook for fresh produce, Parker commented: “Back-to-school shopping is in full swing and that brings about many healthy produce snacking campaigns at retailers around the country in addition to the final weeks of grilling season.”

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