The latest FreshFacts on Retail report shows consumers increased produce purchases compared to a year ago, despite relatively flat prices.

The quarterly report, released by the United Fresh Foundation, Washington, D.C., and produced by The Perishables Group, West Dundee, Ill., tracks produce purchases in about 13,000 supermarkets nationwide representing more than 60% of all commodity volume supermarket share of supermarkets selling $2 million or more.

The report breaks down retail prices and volumes for the 10 top-selling fruit and vegetables, value-added, organic and other categories.

According to the report, consumers purchased 5% more vegetables in the first quarter of 2010 than they did in the first quarter of 2009, and they bought 1.5% more fruit in the same time period.

Citrus led the fruit category in dollar growth, with an 11.7% increase in weekly dollars per store, which, according to the report, was “due in large part to the 8.4% increase in the average retail price of citrus.”

Other fruit that showed a large volume gain included apples, prepared fruit, pears and avocados. Fruit that posted losses in volumes included berries, grapes and stone fruit.

Price drops in the vegetable category resulted in volume gains, according to the report. Potatoes led this trend with a 16.9% drop in price and 5.8% increase in volume compared to the same time period in 2009.

Value-added fruit increased dollar and volume sales by 10.8% and 13.8%, with prices down 2.7%. Fresh-cut fruit led that category with a 14.8% increase in dollars per store and a 21.6% increase in volume and a 5.6% reduction in price.

Organic produce showed double-digit growth in weekly dollar sales per store, with 10.4% in vegetables and 16.7% in fruit. Volumes also were up, 6% in vegetables and 13% in fruit.

The entire report is available to United Fresh Produce Association members. More information is at

Retail report: First quarter produce volumes up