- The United Fresh Produce Association’s 2016 Year in Review edition of its FreshFacts on Retail report found that there’s been an increase in sales of fresh produce — 1.5% more volume and 3.6% in weekly dollar sales, according to the United Fresh Produce Association.
- The report showed that produce represents 33% of all fresh grocery sales, second only to the meat department.
- Value-added fruits and vegetable sales exceeded $4 billion, despite each category being purchased by less than half of all households.
Bagged salads and berries have posted particularly strong sales over the last year, following consumer trends for healthier and more convenient food.
This doesn’t mean that retailers can assume sales will continue on this trajectory. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study found that despite growing health trends, Americans still aren't eating as many fruits and vegetables as they should.
Consumers are increasingly changing their attitude toward eating healthy, and there are a number of opportunities for stores to collaborate with players in the wellness space to make the produce section more appealing.
Wal-Mart, Kroger and other retailers have expanded their produce sections in recent years to meet increasing consumer demand for fresh fruit and vegetable varieties, as many shoppers have voiced their disappointment with the fresh offerings at their supermarkets.
Some retailers are embracing dietitians and other healthy eating experts to provide guidance for consumers who are trying to achieve healthier lifestyles, and this has been shown to payoff with increased sales of produce.
Food analysts note that other ways to get consumers interested in produce sections of a store include enhanced salad bars, increasing organics and bringing in local farmers to talk about their farms and produce.