Supermarket produce dollar sales rose nearly 6 percent since this time last year, driven by higher average retail prices. The increase in dollar sales was fueled by higher average retail prices this period, according to the latest edition of FreshFacts on Retail, the quarterly retail research report of the United Fresh Foundation.

While overall volume experienced a slight decline due to higher prices, the decrease was only 3 percent, continuing the trend established in previous quarters, which saw consumers willing to pay a premium for their fresh produce preferences.

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:

  • Eight of the top 10 fruits and nine of the top 10 vegetables posted sales that exceeded Q3 2010
  • Cherries saw true growth in sales and volume, both up more than 20 percent, as did mushrooms with more than 6 percent increase in volume and dollar sales
  • Dollars and volume for value-added fruits grew during Q3 2011, up 8.3 percent and 5.3 percent, and value-added vegetables saw dollar sales rise 6.8 percent and volume 7.1 percent
  • Organic fruits and vegetables both saw growth in weekly volume, despite increases in retail price
  • Produce based deli-salads and sides posted dollar growth

Each FreshFacts report also features a Quarterly Spotlight on one industry segment in particular. This quarter, the report looks at the primary factors driving consumer purchasing in the fresh produce department. This spotlight focuses on the consumer’s desire for convenience and unique flavors, as well as consumer willingness to trade up to value-added and gourmet varieties when prices rise for basic staple commodities.

The complete FreshFacts on Retail report can be downloaded free of charge to all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members) by clicking here. For more information about how to obtain the report, please contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at 202-303-3400 ext. 405 or syoung@unitedfresh.org. For questions about specific data contained in the report, please contact Kelli Beckel at the Perishables Group at 773-929-7013.