US fresh produce sales have begun rising again, following a surge in cases of Covid-19, according to the latest data from the IRI. Jonna Parker, Team Lead Fresh with IRI, said: “Since January 2021, we had been seeing the share of meals prepared at home decrease a little each month. However, with the elevation of Covid-19 cases in the past month, IRI’s latest survey wave among primary shoppers found that the share of meals prepared at home increased once more to nearly 80% from 76.6% in July.”
The survey also found that people were a little less likely to eat on-premise at restaurants. After reaching a high of 50% of primary shoppers in July, the share dropped to 48% in August. Restaurant takeout remained at its high pandemic levels: 53% of consumers have gotten takeout and 20% had restaurant food delivered in the past few weeks.
“Additionally, August saw a bit of an uptick in ecommerce orders after several months of trips moving back to in-person visits,” said Parker. “While these are small shifts, online versus in-store trips can mean different items being purchased, but can also affect impulse areas, including fruit and floral.”
Fresh produce sales in August reached US$7 billion, up 1% year-on-year and 12% higher than in August 2019. “Cherry season is always fast and their top-three sales rank placement was short-lived. Yet, cherry sales remain in the top 10, with apples, grapes bananas and avocados showing strong sales,” said Parker. “Importantly, all but three fruits managed to improve sales year-over-year in August and apples and mixed fruit grew sales by double digits. Deflation in avocados has been pulling sales down for a while, even though engagement and volume sales are strong.”