The fundamentally different consumer engagement with produce amid COVID-19 continued to show a three-way split of the produce dollar between fresh, frozen and shelf-stable produce during the week of 5 April. IRI, 210 Analytics and the PMA partnered to understand what effect dollars and volume had on produce throughout the pandemic.
The March dollar growth trend for fresh fruit shows very strong results for the week endings 15 March and 22 March. The subsequent two weeks continued to have elevated sales, particularly for fresh vegetables. Compared with the same week in 2019, fresh produce generated an additional $170 million in sales, of which $129 million was generated by vegetables.
At the onset of coronavirus in the United States (US), dollar and volume sales were close together for total produce (+0,4% for dollars and +1,3% for volume). Starting with the week ending 22 March, volume sales far exceeded dollar sales, which would indicate deflation setting in at retail level for some areas. For the week of 5 April, volume increases exceeded dollars by nearly five percentage points.
The gap was widest for vegetables, particularly during the last two weeks. For the week ending 5 April, volume sales gains for vegetables were more than ten points higher than dollar growth.
Potato sales were $35 million more than in the comparable week in 2019, or +66,9%. Others that gained big in dollars were berries (+$17 million), onions and tomatoes (+$15 million, each) and oranges (+$14 million).
However, big differences between dollars and volume were observed for some fruit and vegetables as well. Avocados, onions and carrots were the three big ones. Others outside the top ten in absolute dollar growth were limes (16 percentage point volume/dollar gap), asparagus (13 points), Brussels sprouts (14 points), cabbage (twelve points) and celery (30 points). Celery has been a top seller amid the juicing trend, but for the week of 5 April, dollars are down 3% whereas volume sales were up 27%.
Fresh fruit sales growth rebounded and increased with 7,4%. Avocados (+$9 million or +19,6%), bananas (+$6,5 million or +10,4%) and lemons (+$6 million or +42,2%) were big contributors in dollar terms. Berries, apples and bananas remained the largest categories.
On the fresh vegetable side, potatoes continued to have extremely impressive growth, increasing with 66,9%. Other impressive growth categories were onions, carrots and mushrooms.
Fresh, frozen and shelf-stable
Consumers continued to split their produce dollar three ways during the week of 5 April. Frozen and canned vegetables had ongoing strong growth during the first week of April and have been leading sales growth since the onset of coronavirus during the early weeks of March. – FreshPlaza