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As the economy slows, so, too, have sales of some types of value-added produce as many consumers are beginning to trade down to save money, according to the latest edition of the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation’s quarterly research report, “Fresh Facts on Retail.” The report, produced in partnership with the Perishables Group, measures retail price and sales volume trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities, as well as value-added, organic and other produce categories.
Highlights of this quarter’s report include:
-- Average retail prices of fruits and vegetables increased 1.5 percent vs. Q1 2008
-- Weekly dollar sales of packaged salads fell by nearly 5 percent, while bulk lettuce sales rose 6.9 percent
-- Three of the top 10 fresh fruits, berries, grapes and avocados, increased in volume
-- Despite an increase in average price, bananas remained the lowest priced commodity at 64 cents a pound
-- Weekly sales of fresh-cut fruit fell by 12 percent; however, fresh-cut fruit still owned the majority of the value-added fruit category, at 72.4 percent
-- Sales and volume of organic fruit jumped around 10 percent
The current report’s Category Spotlight focuses on the consumer’s shift toward more conservative spending, and a corresponding shift to less expensive produce categories and varieties.
“As the economy takes its toll, American families are tightening their belts and spending less on everything, including food,” said United Fresh president/CEO Tom Stenzel. “It is extremely beneficial for our members to have some sense of where that food budget is being spent, and this quarter’s Category Spotlight offers a quick look at that information.”
Sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, the report can be downloaded free of charge to all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members). For more information about how to obtain the report, or suggestions for future category spotlights, contact communications manager Patrick Delaney at 202-303-3400. For questions about specific data contained in the report, contact Kelli Beckel of the Perishables Group, at 773-929-7013.