Increases in average fresh produce prices, particularly avocados, potatoes and cherries, helped boost retail produce sales in the second quarter of 2011, according to the latest FreshFacts on Retail report from the United Fresh Produce Association.

The report, released in partnership with Del Monte Fresh Produce and the West Dundee, Ill.-based Perishables Group, showed volume of fresh produce sagged slightly in response to the higher prices.

The report shows six of the top ten fruits and vegetables decline in volume the second quarter compared with a year ago.

Second-quarter average weekly sales for all produce were up 1.4%, average retail prices were up 2.4% and overall fresh produce volume sold was off 1%, according to the report. Both fruits and vegetables experienced similar results.

Fresh fruits in the second quarter of 2011 showed a 1% gain in sales, a 2.1% increase in average retail prices and a 1.2% decline in volume.

The late start to the cherry season resulted in a 16.4% increase in pricing but a 22% drop in sales and a 33% dip in volume, according to the report. Avocado retail prices were up a whopping 45% in the second quarter, with retail sales gaining a 5.7% and volume taking a 27% setback.

Meanwhile, vegetable sales grew by 1.5%, notching a 2.8% increase in average retail prices but a 1.3% decline in volume. Potato retail sales registered an impressive 10% gain in the second quarter, with average prices up 15% and volume off by 4%. On the other hand, onion sales dropped by 22%,as a 3.9% increase in volume could not offset a 25% drop in the average retail price.

Mushrooms were the only vegetable category to show grow in both volume and dollars in the second quarter. Sales and volume of mushrooms were reported 3.7% higher and the average price was up just 0.1%, according to the report.

The complete FreshFacts on Retail report can be downloaded free of charge to all United Fresh members and for $50 by nonmembers. For information about how to obtain the report, contact