Weekly dollar sales and per store volume of fresh and fresh-cut produce has gained over the third quarter of 2010, when compared with the same period in 2009. The average price of produce at supermarkets in the third quarter has also increased, according to the latest edition of FreshFacts on Retail, the quarterly retail research report of the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation.

According to the report, consumers showed with their pocketbooks that the quality and nutrition of fresh produce was still a high priority in the third quarter. Even with higher prices in some categories, consumers purchased more produce, resulting in sales gains for a majority of the top 10 produce categories as well as organic and value‐added produce.

The FreshFacts on Retail report, produced in partnership with the Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, measures retail price and sales 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:

• A 3.1 percent increase in weekly dollar sales of vegetables, and 2.2 percent for fruits.

• Seven out of the top 10 fruits and top 10 vegetables grew in dollar sales compared to 2009.

• Dollar growth in the top 10 vegetable categories was primarily driven by onions, which saw a 26.1 percent increase in dollar sales.

• Gains in both dollars and volume for value‐added fruits and vegetables.

• Sales of produce items sold in the deli increased through a 7.9 percent sales gain in deli salad bars and 4.7 percent in deli potato side dishes.

Additionally, this edition’s Quarterly Spotlight features a look at private label products and their effect on overall produce sales. Sales of private label produce have grown steadily from 6.8 percent in 2005 to 10.1 percent in 2009, and most recent figures attribute $2.8 billion in annual sales to the private label industry.

Growth in this category, according to the report, can be attributed primarily to vegetables, which accounted for 89.3 percent of all private label produce sales.

The complete FreshFacts on Retail report can be downloaded free of charge to all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members) at http://www2.unitedfresh.org/forms/store/ProductFormPublic/search?action=1&Product_productNumber=2048