Many families may opt for meats other than traditional turkey for the smaller holiday meal, which will change the vegetable buying mix.
Eight months into the pandemic, the virus remains in firm control of how and where people spend their food dollar. Everyday sales have been on a slow march back to normal and restaurant transactions had come within 10% of prior year levels.
Food waste, package waste, carbon footprint and other sustainability-focused initiatives have become areas of cross-population interest. Now we hope to understand the measures the produce industry is taking in response — from the grower/shipper down to the retailer.
Excluding weeks that were affected by the 2019 or 2020 holiday demand, everyday demand is normalizing at around 10% above year ago levels.
For the week of August 30, fresh fruit and vegetable sales increased 4.7% over 2019. Frozen fruits and vegetables had a much higher percentage increase, at +17.7% but is the smallest of the three temperature zones.
Between January and August 16, produce sales in calendar year 2020 are $4.5 billion ahead of 2019 sales, with an additional 2.9 billion pounds of fresh produce sold. Fresh produce appears to be settling into an everyday demand pattern that sits about 10% above last year’s levels.
The second full week of August was the fifth of eight non-holiday weeks between Independence Day and Labor Day, in which everyday demand alone had to drive the sales performance.
Consumer concern over COVID-19 remains high but stable, with 57 percent being extremely concerned, according to wave 16 of the IRI shopper sentiment survey series.
Elevated every day retail demand drove sales gains of +11.7% over year ago for fresh produce during the week ending July 26 — virtually unchanged versus the week prior.
Organic produce has experienced deflationary prices throughout the pandemic. Overall organic fruit saw a -3.7% decrease in the price per pound during the 12 week period ending May 17.