Double-digit increases in value-added produce sales at U.S. retail stores highlight a new report on second quarter fresh produce performance.
The United Fresh Produce Association’s FreshFacts report, produced in association with Del Monte Fresh Produce and the Nielsen Perishables Group, reveals that higher retail prices drove sales gains in the second quarter, according to a news release from United Fresh.
Value-added fruit sales during the second quarter grew 11.2% compared with the second quarter of 2013, with volume up 6% and average prices 4.9% higher, according to the report. Value-added vegetable sales climbed 11.7% in the quarter, with volume up 10% and average retail prices up 1.2% compared with the second quarter of 2013, according to the report.
The FreshFacts report said avocados showed double-digit sales growth, at 16.3% up compared with the second quarter of 2013. Avocado volume was down 2.2% but prices were up 19% compared with year ago levels, according to the report.
Stone fruit sales were up 13.9% in the second quarter compared with year-ago numbers, with volume up 1.2% and prices 12.5% higher than year-ago levels.
Second-quarter grape sales jumped 10%, with volume up 0.6% and average retail prices 9.4% above year-ago levels. On the other hand, FreshFacts reported sales declines for apples, bananas, cherries and specialty fruits compared with year-ago levels.
The only double-digit sales gain among vegetables tracked by the FreshFacts report was potatoes, which showed 10% higher sales on 12.6% higher average prices but a 2.3% decline in volume compared with year-ago marks. Among the top ten vegetables tracked, lettuce was the only commodity showing lower sales than year-ago levels.
Demand for organic produce also remained strong, with both dollars and volume increasing more than 10% for organic fruits and vegetables compared with the second quarter of 2013.
Overall produce sales for the second quarter of 2014 rose 4.5% over year-ago levels, according to the report, with produce volume up 0.9% and average prices 3.5% over the second quarter of 2013.
The most recent FreshFacts report introduces a new element called “Category Deep Dive” with expanded data for berry, citrus and packaged salad categories, according to a news release from United Fresh. The report shows that strawberries generated 54% of overall berry sales, with reported increases in both volume and dollar sales. For citrus, limes showed an increase in average retail price of 63%, resulting in a dollar sales increase of 50%, according to the release.
“The recommendation to expand the data in these larger produce categories came from the members of our Retail-Foodservice board,” Jeff Oberman, vice president of trade relations for United Fresh and liaison to United’s Retail-Foodservice board, said in the release. “... We’re always looking to enhance the value of these reports and will continue to explore deep data dives and other commodities in future issues.”
The FreshFacts second-quarter 2014 report also includes a Quarterly Spotlight on beverages and juices in the produce department.
The complete FreshFacts® on Retail report can be downloaded free of charge for all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members) at the United Fresh website.