Loading…

Consumers want it in the bag

copbagThe combination of an early Easter holiday and continued increased demand due to COVID-19 has led to another strong week of produce sales for the week ended April 5. Fresh produce sales increased 14.2 percent versus the comparable week in 2019, according to IRI.

Potato sales continue to thrive, selling $35 million more than the comparable week last year, a 66.9 percent increase. Berries, onions, tomatoes and oranges were also high on consumer shopping lists, up $17 million, $15 million, $15 million and $14 million, respectively. Percentagewise, carrots (up 25 percent in dollars) and avocados (up almost 20 percent in dollars) also continue to generate sales.

“Avocados, onions and carrots are three big ones that jump out at me,” said Joe Watson, vice president of membership and engagement for the Produce Marketing Association. “Others outside the top 10 in absolute dollar growth were limes (16 percentage point volume/dollar gap), asparagus (13 points), Brussels sprouts (14 points), cabbage (12 points) and celery (30 points).”

After a modest increase last week, fresh fruit sales saw a healthy 7.4 percent gain for the week ended April 5. In addition to berries, oranges and avocados doing well, lemon sales were up 42.2 percent while bananas reached $69 million.

“While challenging given shoppers’ current grocery shopping patterns, generating demand is crucial for fresh fruit,” said Jonna Parker, team lead, fresh for IRI. “Fruit typically benefits from eye-catching displays and impulse sales and the early indicators are fewer trips and more online ordering for the foreseeable future. I’m encouraged to see retailers leverage oranges merchandised as vitamin C displays and introduce more bagged produce to help speed up shopping and give consumers ease of mind.”

Not surprisingly, bagged produce is a priority for many consumers, according to data from the Retail Feedback Group’s Constant Customer Feedback program. Here are just a few comments from shoppers:

  • “Many produce items are loose and unbagged, thus allowing the potential for contact by other customers.”
  • “I suggest bagging produce items prior to putting items out on shelves.”
  • “I love the touchless hand washing station in the entry way. It would be nice to see that in the produce section as well. I imagine people touching fruits and veggies and then putting them back is a good way to spread disease.”

“Despite continued reassurances that fresh produce is safe to consume, we are dealing with a situation where perception is reality,” said Parker.

Fresh vegetables were up 21.4 percent for the tracked period, paced by the afore mentioned potatoes, onions and carrots. Mushroom sales also increased by more than 25 percent for the week ended April 5. 

New Zealand Envy and Jazz expected to turn heads
The New Zealand apple crop has landed, and retailers and shoppers should expect fresh, large and exceptionally flavorful apples to hit stores in June, enabling high-quality, year-round apple programs from T&G Global. T&G’s New Zealand apple volumes are up compared to last year, with Jazz and Envy driving the program, Read More ...
Western Growers mourns longtime staffer Tom Oliveri
Tom (Tommy O) Oliveri, a longtime Western Growers staffer who retired from the association in January 2018, several months shy of his 40th anniversary, died in his home Thursday morning, May 28. He was 67. Over four decades, Mr. Oliveri demonstrated uncommon dedication to the WG membership, establishing himself as a Read More ...
Homegrown Organic Farms earns EFI certification, shipping labeled product next week
Homegrown Organic Farms announced its certification from Equitable Food Initiative for its California-grown, organic stone fruit.  This certification demonstrates Homegrown Organic Farms’ dedication to the improved lives of its direct employees and all those associated with their organization.  EFI-labeled product will Read More ...
Magic Sun hires new sales operations director
Magic Sun, a leading hydroponic tomato grower in Mexico, is seeing strong growth and increasing interest in its program to deliver high-quality, year-round greenhouse-grown product. Alejandro Santander, vice president of sales and operations and one of the original founders of Magic Sun, indicated that the overall tomato market Read More ...
Buehler’s names new EVP of sales and marketing
Buehler’s Fresh Foods, a leading supermarket chain in northeast Ohio, promoted Mike Davidson to the position of executive vice president of sales and marketing. In Davidson’s new role his responsibilities include oversight of all current sales and merchandising departments, marketing, customer insights, central kitchen Read More ...
Patrinka Crammond joins Shanley Farms
Citriburst Finger Lime grower Shanley Farms has added Patrinka Crammond in business and program development. Crammond, has an extensive background in the produce industry, most recently seven years with Savor Fresh Farms Kiss Melon program in sales and retail program development. “With many retail relationships and experience Read More ...

Market Watch

the source pro-act

Western growing regions getting hit by rain, cooler temps

floral pulse