fruit and veg one use

Growing demand for healthier and more natural foods - coupled with supermarket price cuts - are creating a boom in fresh produce sales.

Volume sales of fresh produce were up 4.1% during the 12 weeks to 21 May, while value sales rose by 2.4% [Nielsen Scantrack], despite the wider deflationary trend in the veg category.

Most of the growth was driven by sales of fruit, which were up 5% in value and 4.8% in volume terms, said Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight, Mike Watkins. Salad value sales were also up (2.3%), with volume sales increasing by 6%.

Veg value sales are down some 3.6% because of deflation but volumes are up 1.3%, according to Watkins.

“This sales uplift is part of a wider trend towards healthier foods, with 60% of shoppers looking for healthy alternatives when they go shopping across all grocery categories, and 49% of households now taking 5 a day into consideration.”

With staple fruit and veg products playing a key role in the supermarket price war, shoppers were also being “encouraged to go into the produce category and buy more” through attractive pricing, Watkins added.

However, he stressed the trend “isn’t just about apples and bananas”, with pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries all contributing to category growth and posting value sales increases of 14% to 17% over the past year. Green leafy veg and avocados, meanwhile, have both posted sales spikes in excess of 25%.

Andy Weir, head of marketing at fruit and veg supplier Reynolds, said he was seeing “phenomenal growth” in some categories.

“All the superfoods are doing very well, with berries and brassicas continuing to show good growth, and avocado sales up more than 40% in both value and volume terms.”