Produce sales, volume higher in first quarter of 2013
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 percent increase in average retail price led to a 7 percent increase in average dollar sales for the produce department and a volume increase of 2 percent compared to Q1 2012. Fruit increased dollar sales nearly 8 percent in Q1 2013, with vegetable dollar growth close behind at 5.7 percent. Total volume for fruits and vegetables increased 1.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
The 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 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. Fresh-cut fruit continued to dominate with 81.5 percent 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 percent and volume sales 12.1 percent during Q1 2013
- Organic fruits increased dollar sales 24.4% and organic vegetables increased dollar sales 14.9 percent.
Each “FreshFacts” report also features a Quarterly Spotlight on an industry segment or notable trend. This quarter, an examination of consumer-driven trends in produce brings attention to the growing demand for globally-inspired items and premium priced products. The section explains how a diverse U.S. population is raising awareness of global flavors and exotically sourced produce, and explores how specialty fruits are being sought after as premium products regardless of price.
The complete “FreshFacts on Retail” report can be downloaded free of charge for all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members) by clicking here.