Fruit and vegetable purchases are on the rise at retail. Despite higher prices, produce posted sales and volume gains during the second quarter of 2010, according to the United Fresh Produce Association's quarterly Fresh Facts report, published through a partnership with Del Monte Fresh Produce and the Perishables Group.
Retail vegetable sales were up 6.6% during the quarter, posting 1.7% increase in volume, and a 4.7% average increase in price. Onions offered one stark example of how shoppers are continuing to purchase most commodities in spite of price increases. Even with an average retail price increase of 41.9%, onions still managed to post volume gains of 0.6% during the period, and seven out of 10 tracked vegetable categories also enjoyed increases in both volume and dollar sales.
The total fruit category saw average retail price increases of 1.3%, along with a 2.6% increase in total volume, leading the category to an overall 4% sales increase during the quarter. Citrus fruits alone experienced a 16% increase in prices, which pushed average prices for the entire category higher.
By contrast, berries — one of the hottest categories in the produce department right now — faced a 3.8% decrease in average retail prices, but still managed to post a 6.3% increase in sales, thanks to a 10.5% increase in volume.
And, despite the recession, value-added products continue to appeal to shoppers. Value-added fruit enjoyed 10.8% sales growth off of a 9.1% increase in volume, while value-added vegetables saw a 1.9% increase in volume and a 4.2% increase in average prices net the category a 6.2% increase in dollar sales.
Packaged salad sales remained flat, with a 1% decrease in volume and a 1.1% decrease in prices leading to a 2% drop in total category dollar sales. The report indicated that many consumers may be making salads at home using lower-priced bulk ingredients purchased elsewhere in the produce department.