Bucking the trend were berries, which recorded sales increases of 28% compared to 2019 and 9% compared to 2020, according to a joint report published by 210 Analytics, PMA and IRI. Total produce sales for the four weeks ending March 28 fell 7.6% year-on-year. However, in comparison to 2019, fresh produce sales at retail were up 11%.
Fresh produce sales remained unchanged from February 2021 at $5.4 billion , a $435million year-on-year fall, but were up $524 million from the 2019 pre-pandemic level. This includes a $242million increase in fruit and a $283 million increase in vegetables.
Joe Watson, vice president of membership and engagement for the Produce Marketing Association said:
“We knew the year-over-year picture would radically change come March in going up against the early pandemic spikes of 2020. But while the year-ago picture is always important, it is just as important to understand current demand relative to the pre-pandemic normal as the country is starting to open up a little more each day.”
Prices for fresh fruit and vegetables were 8-9% higher compared to March 2020 levels.