The segment isn’t experiencing overwhelming growth but respectable sales, Granata said.
“There are two telltale areas in the supermarkets,” he said. “Floral sales have been strong and seafood is also good. People who don’t have extra cash won’t spend the money on floral, a fringe item. If people feel good and have a few extra dollars, they’ll buy both seafood and floral. When you see sales there go well, then you’re seeing a turnaround.”
Interest in locally grown produce is also driving retail sales, said Joel Panagakos, executive vice president of J. Kings Foodservice Professionals Inc., Holtsville, N.Y.
“There’s a local push at retail,” he said. “The local piece is challenging to them. When we say local, we mean really local, like Long Island, not some 250-mile radius.”
Apples grown in upstate New York and mushrooms from Pennsylvania are some of the items that can be sourced within 150 miles, Panagakos said.
“The retailers we deal with want their stores in Long Island to sell Long Island produce,” he said. “That’s unique.”
J. Kings distributes fresh-cut items to retailers.