May 28, 2020

‘Unprecedented’ rise in home food consumption shown in United Fresh report

United Fresh Produce Association’s first-quarter 2020 issue of FreshFacts on Retail reports on the beginning weeks of the unprecedented rise in in-home food and beverage consumption triggered by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The report includes comparisons between the first half and second half of the quarter to highlight changes in consumer purchase behavior as varying degrees of restricted living began across the country.

united-fresh-produce“COVID-19 related closures have led consumers to drastically restructure their eating habits, notably increasing the consumption of meals and snacks at home,” said Miriam Wolk, United Fresh’s Vice President, Member Service, through a press release. “Our current and future FreshFacts reports will help the industry assess how to leverage current consumer behaviors and fresh produce purchasing trends.”

In addition to COVID-19 analysis, the report also looks at broader Q1 2020 category performance data, as well as seasonal category deep dives on cantaloupe, corn and watermelon, with a year-to-year comparison of the last three years’ Q3 results to aid in planning for a successful Q3 2020. A special section looks at the snacking category, where handheld fruit continues to dominate, but sees cups and packs showing double digit growth.

FreshFacts on Retail, produced in partnership with Nielsen Fresh and with direction from the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board, measures retail price and sales trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities as well as other value-added produce categories.

Q1 data highlights include:

  • With health as a top concern, consumers continue to buy fresh food with immune-boosting properties, while also supplementing with shelf stable and frozen food options.
  • Household trips and average dollar per buyer have increased across a number of fresh produce categories. While center store registers the most growth, perimeter departments are seeing growth as well.
  • Strawberries and raspberries benefited by extending their reach among the U.S. households and also drove higher trips. Among vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers have enticed higher average dollar spend per buyer, leading to growth.
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables continue to influence overall organic growth, presenting multiple opportunities to innovate and attract health-conscious consumers.

To further explore the data from this issue, a webinar is scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Friday, May 29. The webinar is hosted by the United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Board and moderated by Jeff Cady, Director of Produce and Floral, Tops Friendly Markets. Featuring analysis from Mike Galaburda, Client Director, Nielsen Perishables Group, the webinar will highlight the notable statistics from the report, as well as provide an opportunity for produce professionals to gain a broader understanding of what may be driving current trends.

Registration for the webinar is available at

The complete FreshFacts on Retail report is available free of charge for all on the United Fresh website.

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