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The No. 2 most wasted fruit at retail may surprise you, given its popularity

fruit shrink

Considering the popularity of my post about the most wasted vegetables at retail, I thought it would be a good refresher to take a look at fruit – especially as we head into the warmer months.

When it comes to vegetables, I don’t think anyone is surprised that items like mustard greens, collard greens and endive have the highest percentage of shrink among vegetables at retail.

They’re not very common, and are more delicate to handle. Your wet rack game has to be right on to keep these in good condition.

But when it comes to fruit, not much needs mist, right?

It’s all about the right temperature and rotation.

There’s a fantastic report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service that shows the retail shrink percentage based on top fruit and vegetables. The data compares 2005-2006 with 2011-2012. I’d love to see it updated again, but I still think it’s a great benchmark.

According to the report, papayas have the highest shrink percentage at retail, with 43.1% going to waste. For background, the report found the average shrink rate for fresh fruit was 12.6%.

That’s not surprising to me, as papayas are less popular with mainstream consumers, bruise easily, and are vulnerable to chill damage. (See our Know Your Commodity guide for more information on papaya storage and handling)

The No. 2 commodity, however, is kind of a shocker.

Did you know…32% of PINEAPPLES at retail go to waste? Twenty-five percent of watermelons, and 21% of mangoes and even 19% of apples don’t get sold.

Don’t think all tropicals are high maintenance, though. Bananas topped the list, posting the lowest shrink percentage of all fruit measured, at 4.1%.

Scroll over the chart to see exact amounts.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.