Category Partners Records Retail Produce Sales Spike
IDAHO FALLS, ID - Steve Lutz, Senior Vice President of Insight and Innovations at Category Partners, has made a name for himself as an industry expert. In the wake of uncertainty caused by COVID-19, Lutz is a beacon of light for both buyers and suppliers, shedding insight on the grocery side of the produce industry. A huge takeaway from Category Partners’ recent analysis of Nielsen data is that supermarket sales indicate a strong demand for produce.
“It is no surprise based on anecdotal reports that the inflection in sales gains between the weeks ending March 7 and 14 was so dramatic,” commented Lutz. “As more data points roll in, we’re beginning to see some underlying patterns that reveal interesting new currents in the retail channel.”
For the single-week ending March 7, data revealed that produce department sales saw a growth of +3.8 percent. Sales spiked to +23.2 percent the single-week ending March 14.
Further segmentation of the data revealed that while fruit sales are up +18.8 percent for the week of March 14, vegetable sales surpassed fruit gaining +27.3 percent over the same week last year. Less perishable products like potatoes have seen larger sales spikes of upwards of 45 percent. The press release went on to say that products that support home-prepared meals like fresh tomatoes (+42 percent) are outpacing the strong produce department trends. Looking outside the department, there are big gains for less perishable products like frozen fruits (+73.2 percent) and frozen vegetables (+68.9 percent).
“As we look across individual categories in fresh produce as well as departments outside produce, the patterns are beginning to emerge,” said Lutz. “Highly perishable items are selling but experiencing smaller increases in sales. In general, the more an item or category is considered storable and a staple, the greater the increases in year-over-year growth triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. Consumers are still picking up highly perishable items for the next week, but they are stocking up on more ‘durable’ food items for a longer time horizon.”
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