A new retail produce department sales report shows big double-digit gains for fresh organic fruits and vegetables in the third quarter compared with a year ago.
The FreshFacts on Retail report, developed in partnership by Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association with Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. and Chicago-based Nielsen Perishables Group, tracks quarterly retail sales performance of fresh produce retail sales.
For all produce, the report showed modest improvements in volume but about moderately higher prices. The third quarter 2014 FreshFacts report said total produce sales were up 4.7% compared with year-ago numbers, with volume 0.9% higher and prices 3.8% above a year ago.
Vegetable retail sales were rated 6.6% higher in the third quarter, buoyed by 6.3% higher average prices and a minimal 0.2% gain in volume. Fresh fruit sales during the third quarter were 3.5% above 2012 levels, with average prices running 2.2% ahead of last year and volume 1.3% ahead of a year ago, according to the report.
Highlights of the report include:
- Sales of organic vegetables were up 20.7% in the third quarter, with organic fruit sales up 15.6%;
- Packaged sales surged 5.9% in the third quarter, with volume up 3.5% and average price 2.4% above year-ago levels;
- Fresh potato sales were 11.2% higher, sparked by a 16.1% gain in average prices;
- Fresh-cut fruit sales were up 12.3%, fueled by a 16.3 rise in volume and a 3.4% decline in average price; and
- The berry category was the top-selling fruit item; packaged salads were for vegetables.
The report spotlights holiday fresh produce sales, with a special focus on Christmas week fruit and vegetable sales by commodity.
The report, free to United Fresh members and $50 for non-members, is available online.