United Fresh Sees Increase in Total Produce Volume

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The volume of fresh fruits and vegetables purchased by American grocery shoppers increased over the past year, according to the United Fresh Foundation’s Fresh Facts on Retail report for the fourth quarter of 2009.

The report shows an overall weekly volume increase for fresh produce of 6 percent over Q42008, as well as dollar sales increases for some categories of fresh fruit and vegetables, often a result of lower prices.

“While lower prices attracted more consumers to the fresh produce department, we see mixed results in the overall impact in volume and sales,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation.  “However, unlike the past few quarters, we are starting to see a slight increase in overall produce sales, up 0.5% compared to the third quarter of 2009, which is a positive sign in today’s unstable economy.”

Fresh Facts on Retail is produced in partnership with the Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, and measures retail price and sales volume trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities, as well as value-added, organic and other produce categories.

         

Highlights of this quarter’s report include:

  • Fruit prices were lower by 5.7%, resulting in a 6.5% increase in volume
  • Vegetable prices were 9.2% lower on average, resulting in a 5.9% increase in volume
  • The volume of fruit purchased in Q42009 increased for every variety compared to Q42008 with avocados posting the largest volume growth, up 27.5%
  • All of the top vegetable varieties increased in volume compared to Q42008, with prepared vegetables up the most at 7.7%
  • Lower average retail prices for value-added fruits spurred a 12.1% increase in volume and a 9.1% increase for value-added vegetables
  • Organic vegetables outsold organic fruit in dollar and volume sales

In addition, the report’s Quarterly Spotlight feature explores the industry’s organics category, looking at price, volume and dollar sales levels for the top 10 organic fruit and vegetable commodities and the factors driving those trends.

In this report, in terms of weekly dollar sales per store, we see apples were the top organic fruit variety at $143, followed by berries and bananas.  In organic vegetables, packaged salads accounted for $331 in weekly dollar sales per store, followed by carrots and lettuce.

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