While messaging is no longer scaring consumers into washing their produce like a load of dishes in the sink, packaged fruit and vegetable sales continue to show growth in the latest FreshFacts on Retail report from the United Fresh Produce Association BB #:145458.
A few key items show particular growth compared to bulk produce, though Nielsen’s Mike Galaburda said packaged produce typically is not cannibalizing bulk, with a few exceptions like apples and grapes.
“Over the course of the last year, packaged produce has been growing at a higher rate, and even more drastically in the latest 26 weeks,” Galaburda said during a webinar discussing the latest report. “This is especially interesting given the flat dollar share breakout across the two over the time period because it points to something else happening other than an increase in packaged options on shelf.”
Packaged produce is more conducive to click-and-collect shopping, as well as a faster, more value-conscious shopping experience in-store for consumers.
Galaburda also pointed to changing consumer behaviors regarding packaged produce. Avocados and apples, two categories consumers typically prefer to pick themselves, showed 15% and 36% growth in packaged sales in the 3rd quarter.
“Packaged produce has been performing better than bulk across a range of consumer metrics,” he said. “However, I think it’s important to note that most of the growth is coming from existing buyers buying more. I don’t want to give the impression that there was any sort of mass exodus from bulk over to packaged. Nevertheless I do think the growth in packaged produce overall has much to do with an influx of options, the added convenience you see from value-added, and will continue to be a mainstay in the produce department.”
Watch the full discussion of the report, with commentary from Jeff Cady of Tops Markets, here.