As one of the stars of the produce department, apples present a feast for the eyes and the palate.
For the first time, the crisp gala apple topped the variety list as the favorite this year, bumping granny smiths to third place.
Honeycrisps remain in the running as one of the top choices—currently No. 2—as was the case last year. Once the king of the category, red delicious fell to fourth, while the fuji variety held strong in fifth place. Other varieties with dedicated followers included golden delicious, mcintosh and Pink Lady.
Whole or sliced, apples make a great snack, and nearly nine out of 10 consumers said they used the fruit in this way over the past 12 months. Because it can be baked, fried, made into sauce or juiced, this versatile fruit was used as an ingredient in a recipe by 36% of buyers. Apples’ health benefits are recognized by consumers as well. One-third of buyers said they used the fruit as a dessert, while another 20% said it served well as a salad.
For the fourth consecutive year, the likelihood of an apple purchase increased according to income. Consumers earning more than $50,000 annually were among the most likely to buy the crisp fruit overall, along with those in the “all other” ethnic group.
African American consumers were among the least likely to buy apples overall—a trend now in its sixth year—along with those in the lowest income bracket.
For the second year in a row, families without kids were more likely to snap up this colorful fruit than those with kids. However, families with one child living at home were among the most likely overall to buy apples.
Shoppers in the Midwest and West were more likely to buy apples than those living in the South or Northeast this year.
Eleven percent of apple buyers said they always selected organic apples, as was the case last year. Interest in periodic organic apple purchases increased slightly, as 35% of buyers said they bought organic product at least some of the time—33% said so last year.
This versatile vegetable topped all the charts —coming in as the No. 1 produce item that consumers purchased as well as the No. 1 vegetable in Fresh Trends 2019. More than 60% of all consumers in every category said they bought potatoes in the past year.
One-third of consumers said russets were their favorite variety, and about half as many said they preferred red potatoes. Interest in Yukon gold potatoes increased two percentage points over the past 12 months, with 11% of buyers saying they liked the buttery yellow variety best.
It’s no surprise potatoes are a popular side dish option for many consumers. More than seven in 10 shoppers said they used the tubers as an accompaniment to a meal over the past year. More than half of buyers (56%) said they incorporated potatoes as an ingredient in a recipe. For some, the spuds are the main event. Thirty-seven percent of buyers said they made potatoes the main dish.
2019 marks the ninth consecutive year that the likelihood of a potato purchase has increased according to age. Shoppers age 59 and older comprised the group most likely to buy the tubers overall, followed by those in the top income bracket. Consumers age 18-39 were among the least likely to buy.
Caucasian consumers are among the most likely to buy this starchy vegetable. In fact, for five of the past six years, Caucasians have been the top ethnic group to buy potatoes.
Families without kids at home were more likely to buy potatoes, at 72%, than those with kids, at 69%. However, families with three or more kids were among the most likely to buy potatoes overall.
While most shoppers picked up conventionally grown potatoes, one-tenth of buyers said they always bought organic product, a number up one percentage point from last year. Twenty-seven percent of buyers said they purchased organic potatoes at least some of the time.
One-quarter of consumers said they purchased this hearty vegetable in the past 12 months; the likelihood of a squash purchase slipped one percentage point from last year.
Affluent consumers in the top income bracket were twice as likely to buy as those earning less than $25,000 annually; in fact, there was a clear line at the income level of $50,000 that separated those most likely to buy. The likelihood of a purchase increased according to income for the seventh straight year.
Age also played a role, with shoppers age 59 and older being among the most likely to buy squash overall. Western shoppers were more apt to make a purchase than those in other regions, a trend now in its third year.
One-third of Caucasian shoppers selected squash in the past year, making them the top purchasers when looking at ethnicity. African American shoppers and Hispanic consumers were the least likely overall to buy squash.
Interest in organic squash remained relatively even from last year, as 28% of buyers said they picked up organic product at least some of the time. Nine percent said they always grabbed organic squash, a number down one percentage point from last year.