Total weekly fresh produce sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 registered $40,401 per store, up 3.3% from a year ago, according to the latest issue of United Fresh Produce Association’s Fresh Facts report.
The report, produced in partnership with Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh, Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce and West Dundee Ill.-based Nielsen Perishables Group, also showed strong gain for organic produce at retail.
The FreshFacts report showed that weekly volume per store of all fresh produce totaled 27,766 pounds, down 1.2% from the fourth quarter of 2010. The average retail price for all fresh produce was $1.46 per pound, up 4.6% from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the report.
Weekly average sales of fruits rose 3.4% to $16,288 per store, up 3.4% from a year ago. Fresh fruit prices were up 4.6% to $1.33 per pound but volume off by 1.2% to 12,273 pounds per store. Fourth-quarter melon performance suffered from the listeria foodborne illness outbreak linked to cantaloupes; the report said melons suffered a 25.8% decline in sales per store and an equal decline in volume. On the other hand, berries enjoyed a 11.2% rise in sales compared with the same period a year ago, built by a 14.2% gain in volume and a 2.6% decline in average prices.
Vegetable sales per store were $19,439, up 2.5% compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. For fresh vegetables, the average price was up 4.5% to $1.42 per pound, while volume slid 1.9% to 13,718 pounds per store. Potatoes showed the biggest percentage increase in dollar sales per store at 6.5%, while onions suffered the biggest decline in sales, put at 5.4% less than the fourth quarter of 2010.
The report also said that organic produce sales in the fourth quarter of 2011 enjoyed double-digit growth for both vegetables and fruit. The report said weekly sales per store of organic vegetables were $1,344, up 11.4% from the fourth quarter of 2010. The report said the weekly volume per store for vegetables was 499 pounds, up 9.6% from the fourth quarter a year ago; the average retail price for organic vegetable was $2.69 per pound, up 1.6% from the fourth quarter of 2011.
FreshFacts said that weekly dollars sales for organic fruit rated $655 per store, up a whopping 23.2% from the fourth quarter of 2010. The weekly average volume of organic fruit soared 19.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 356 pounds per store. The average retail price for organic fruit was $1.87 per pound, up 3.3% from the same period a year ago.