Posts Tagged “IRI market research”

Research Indicates Financial Strength Closely Tied to Produce Purchases

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Consumers’ financial strength is closely related to how well U.S. retailers’ fresh produce departments perform, according to an IRI representative.

Jonna Parker, the company’s Team Lead for Fresh, said that IRI primary shopper research found that if Americas were to receive a second stimulus check from the U.S. government, they would be more likely to spend it on meat and produce than other food and beverages.

“In all, 21% of consumers said they would buy more meat, 20% more produce and 7% would purchase restaurant meals more often,” she said in a joint report by 210 Analytics, IRI and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). “This shows the fresh produce department performance is closely tied to financial strength.”

Consumers were also asked how the loss of a weekly unemployment benefit of $600 might affect shopping behavior.

“The top answer among current beneficiaries of the benefit was ‘buy less meat’ at 35%, followed by ‘buy fewer fresh fruits and vegetables’ at 29%, ‘buy fewer premium products’ at 24%, ‘switch more purchases to store brands versus national brands’ at 19%, and ‘buy fewer convenient meals to instead cook from scratch’ at 18%,” Parker said.

The joint report noted that fresh produce sales at U.S. retail in the week ended August 9 were up 9.5% year-on-year – putting it below the 12-13% weekly growth seen during July. Year-to-date through August, fresh produce department sales are up 11.1% over the same time period in 2019.

Frozen fruit and vegetables increased the most, up 27.4%. Joe Watson, VP of Membership and Engagement for the PMA, said that economic pressure “tends to have big impacts on grocery shopping”, including channel choice, the type of items and quantity bought, and the importance of price and promotions.

“During the next few weeks and months, it will be important to highlight the great value of fresh produce and home cooking,” he said. “At the same time, consumers appreciate help with recipe ideas and meal planning as that is an increasing area of struggle. We will also keep an eye on back-to-school that will look very different this year, which will once more impact year-over-year trending.”

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Fresh Produce Sales at Retail are Up About 25 Percent

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Fresh produce retail sales were up 22 percent for the week ending April 26, compared to the same time a year ago.

The market research company IRI reports demand for fresh produce is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. During the last week of April fresh vegetable sales were up 30.4 percent, while fresh fruit sales jumped 16.2 percent.

The numbers represent a substantial jump over the previous week, which was competing with the week of Easter in 2019. It also means the highest figures since the end of the demand peak in the middle of March.

A report by 210 Analytics, IRI and the Produce Marketing Association also points out sales of frozen and shelf-stable produce remain highly elevated, being up 57.6 percent and 46.3 percent respectively.

IRI reports the numbers very clearly show higher everyday demand is being driven by in-home consumption and it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

As the market is adjusting to the new era of COVID-19, some lingering issues remain with the supply chain. Then there is the totally new shopping arena affecting everything from the demand for products to having to find new ways to drive impulse buying.

The top three growth items in the U.S. in terms of absolute dollar gains over the same week in 2019 were berries (+$35 million), lettuce (+$29 million) and potatoes, (+$24 million).

However, at the category level, significant differences continue existing between dollars and volume, driven by deflationary pressure. With fruit, there were big decreases in price per volume for items such as avocados (-16.1 percent), grapes (-12.5 percent) and tangelos (-9.9 percent) the week ending April 26.

Concerning vegetables, onions had a strong 37.3 percent increase in dollars. However volume sales were up 55.1 percent, with the retail price per volume down more than 11 percent.

Other produce items with large decreases in the price per volume were celery (-24.8 percent), peppers (-12.6 percent) and Brussels sprouts (-6.6 percent).

There was an opposite affect for other items, especially potatoes, with dollar sales still going strong, at +50.8 percent, and volume up 38.7 percent. Retail potato prices were 8.8 percent higher versus the same week a year ago.

As for fruit, the top 10 items in terms of dollar sales saw flat sales for two items (grapes and melons) but double-digit increases for seven.

Oranges continue a hot streak with another terrific 71 percent gain versus year ago. Highlighting nutritional benefits, particularly Vitamin C, in many other fruits and vegetables may benefit sales in weeks to come.

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