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Strong US demand for fresh produce 

Strong US demand for fresh produce 
Photo: Eurofresh Distribution

January saw a 9.7% year-on-year rise in sales of produce, according to a report by the PMA, IRI and 210 Analytics. The figure excludes online-only and delivery e-commerce sales, which are well up on 2020 levels.

Joe Watson, VP of Membership and Engagement for the PMA, said: “Produce at retail had a strong January, driven by the two middle weeks ending January 17 and 24. We continue to see highly elevated sales results for vegetables, that are very much in line with the gains seen in the meat department — both pointing at more meals prepared at home. Retail fruit gains have been in the high single digits since the third quarter of 2020 and remain a big opportunity for more at-home snacking, breakfast and lunch.”

Fresh produce generated $6.3 billion in sales during the January weeks. This reflects $198 million in additional fruit sales and $383 million in additional vegetable sales. In fruit, berries remained a dominant force, as did citrus, with sales up 13.1% year-over-year, showing consumers’ consistent turn towards foods perceived to offer healthier lifestyles. Lemons and oranges were the fastest growers. Only grapes lost ground.

As for vegetables, there were double-digit gains for eight out of the 10 leading items.