Fresh produce regains ground in US retail sales
The share of sales of fresh produce in US shopping baskets is almost back to pre-Covid levels. Following the outbreak, there was a rush to stock up on frozen and canned products, which led to a drop in sales of fresh produce to 70% in March. However, according to data published in a report by 210 Analytics and PMA, in the week ending on May 24th, the share of fresh produce was back up to 82%, slightly less than the 2019 average of 84%. At the same time, the share of canned produce has fallen from 19% in March to 10% in the recent data, while the proportion of produce sales consisting of frozen products has fallen from 11% at the start of the pandemic to 8%, which is still above the 2019 average of 6%.
In fact, sales of fresh produce in the week ending on May 24th were 14.3% higher than in the equivalent week in 2019. Analysing this increase in detail shows that fresh vegetable sales were up 20% while sales of fresh fruit climbed 9.5%. One reason proposed for this bump in sales is the shortage of meat in the US which has led retailers to focus promotions on fresh produce instead.
All of the top-10 vegetable items registered double-digit dollar sales growth in the week in question. As for fruits, oranges were the strongest performers, with almost 80% y-o-y growth, followed by cherries.