Fresh produce saw positive dollar and volume sales in the first quarter of 2013, a strong start to the year. Organic fruits and vegetables and value-added categories also posted positive overall dollar and volume growth compared to the same period last year, according to the latest edition of FreshFacts on Retail, the quarterly retail research report of the United Fresh Foundation.
A 4.9% increase in average retail price led to a 7% increase in average dollar sales for the produce department and a volume increase of 2% compared to Q1 2012. Fruit increased dollar sales nearly 8% in Q1 2013, with vegetable dollar growth close behind at 5.7%. Total volume for fruits and vegetables increased 1.4% and 2.1%, respectively.
The FreshFacts on Retail report, produced in partnership with the Nielsen Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, measures retail price and sales 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:
· Nine of the top 10 fruits posted dollar growth that exceeded Q1 2012. Citrus, apples, specialty fruits and melons each experienced double-digit increases that generally corresponded with higher retail prices.
· Half of the top 10 vegetable categories increased both dollar and volume sales compared to the same quarter last year, with nine categories showing strong increased dollar sales regardless of relatively modest retail price increases.
· Value-added fruits increased dollar and volume sales by 10.7% and 2.9%, respectively. Fresh-cut fruit continued to dominate with 81.5% of category sales during Q1 2013.
· Three of the top four value-added vegetable categories increased volume sales by double digits, supported by steady average retail pricing. Overall, value-added vegetables increased dollar sales 12.7% and volume sales 12.1% during Q1 2013
· Organic fruits increased dollar sales 24.4% and organic vegetables increased dollar sales 14.9%.