A presentation on consumer trends by the Nielsen Perishables Group seems to contradict the widely held belief hat fresh produce consumption is just not increasing on a per-capita basis. The talk was presented recently at the annual United Fresh Produce Association Convention in Chicago.
Jonna Parker, a director for that organization, said over the past five years, dollar volume of fresh produce has increased about 25 percent while unit volume is up 10-13 percent.
Of the top 10 growth items in the grocery sector, six are fresh produce, including two value-added products, specialty fruit, avocados, pineapples and cooking greens, with that last category topped by kale, she said.
Statistics show that annually the average American household spends $338 on fresh produce, compared to only $299 on meat, which comes in second place in dollar sales.
While most customers claim produce is the most important department in picking a store, there are still many trips to the market that do not include a produce purchase. More than half of the times that a person goes to the supermarket they do not put a produce item in their basket.
Currently, the average shopper makes about 40 to 50 supermarket trips per year. Parker said higher-income households (in excess of an annual income of $100,000) are far more prolific produce buyers. They make 51 trips per year and purchase about $454 worth of fresh produce. The least affluent consumers make about 40 trips per year to the supermarket and spend just $221 on produce.