Following a big summer sales season, strong fresh produce sales are predicted for the autumn holiday season, a recent forecast by the Nielsen Perishables Group reveals.

The report from the Chicago-based retail analyst said momentum is good following a solid summer selling season. With no notable crop losses or food safety issues, 35 of 44 fresh produce categories posted volume gains in the summer of 2012, according to the report.

For the 13 weeks ending Aug. 25, Nielsen Perishables reported both volume and sales of fresh produce were up 4% compared with the same period a year ago.

The volume of fresh fruits and vegetables purchases on promotions declined in the summer, according to the Nielson report, as retailers offered smaller discounts to fresh produce items.

Cherries were among the bright spots, according to the report, with a big 2012 crop driving a 20% growth in sales.

“Shoppers also responded to a near 30% price drop in avocados, driving volume up a remarkable 46%,” according to the Nielsen report. Value-added vegetables were also strong performers, with new products boosting sales, according to the report.

For the autumn selling season, Nielsen projected continued strength in the fresh produce department.

For produce alone, Nielsen forecasts holiday dollar and volume sales to grow 5% and 4% respectively, according to the report. Consumers may be troubled by economic uncertainty revolving around November elections.

“If consumers revert to their focus on price, expect to see steeper discounts designed to draw in shoppers during the vital holiday season,” according to the report.