Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

Potatoes at Retail: Summary of reporting from the week ending May 8, 2020

May 11, 2020

Sales at Retail April 20 – April 26, 2020
Retail produce sales continued to increase for the week ending on April 26, 2020. Vegetables outpaced fruit sales growth for the 9th week in a row. Vegetables have been gaining on fruit for almost a year, but the fresh vegetable growth has amplified over the last nine weeks.

The frozen fruit and vegetable category continued to outpace last year’s sales, with a growth of 57.6%. Shelf-stable fruits and vegetables continued to grow with a growth rate of 46.3%. Seventy-nine percent of the total store fruit and vegetable dollars is on fresh produce, but a lot of these consumers are buying fruits and vegetable items in the center store as well.

Trends
Health

The frozen fruit and vegetable category continued to outpace last year’s sales, with a growth of 57.6%. Shelf-stable fruits and vegetables continued to grow with a growth rate of 46.3%. Seventy-nine percent of the total store fruit and vegetable dollars is on fresh produce, but a lot of these consumers are buying fruits and vegetable items in the center store as well.

Trends
Health

  • A popular fitness app’s sales (Peloton) are up 66% compared to a year ago, showing the continued interest in health and fitness at home.
  • Social posts are primarily related to produce, grocery stores, vegetables, and other holistic living terms.
  • While conventional produce sales are still larger than organic, organic sales are growing at a larger rate than conventional, showing the growing use of food as a part of overall health.

Empathy 

  • Consumers continue to focus on how companies are contributing and in what ways they are making an impact.

Grocery Store Perimeter 

  • Fresh sales have contributed the most amount of dollars to total retail sales over the last month.
    • Meat sales have been number one with produce being number two.
    • Vegetable sales are currently accounting for 54% of all produce dollars. Prior to March, vegetables made up 29% of produce sales.
    • Potatoes are the only produce item to show a week of triple-digit growth over the last year.
  • Five percent of produce shoppers are new or lapsed.
  • Fresh sales are contributing the most to total store share sales.
  • Fixed and random weight products are both growing even with a focus around packaged goods.
  • Thirty-three percent of consumers are now buying organic produce.
  • Ninety-two percent of consumers are showing positive sentiments on social media towards fresh produce purchased in-store.
    • Prior to March, 97% of consumers showed positive experiences on social media.

Center Store 

  • Frozen and shelf-stable items continue to grow, particularly in fruits and vegetables.
  • Forty-six percent of frozen fruit and vegetable buyers are new or lapsed shoppers.
    • Frozen potatoes are the number one item in the frozen vegetable’s category, selling $68.3 million in dollars and 43 million in volume sales.
  • The new consumers in these categories are interacting with lots of CPG marketing dollars and are reporting positive experiences on social media.
    • The marketing around frozen and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables are using similar terms, such as “fresh,” to describe produce and are appealing to consumers.
  • Before March, there were very few consumers who were purchasing from both produce and center store for fruits and vegetables. Now they are. Center store produce items have increased 15-30%.
  • Forty-eight percent of center store consumers are repeat purchasing fruits and vegetables from these departments.

Online 

  • Twenty-two percent of consumers are now consistently purchasing groceries online.
    • The majority of these consumers use click and collect options where they order online and pick up curbside at the store.
    • Ninety-two percent of these consumers plan to continue purchasing this way after everything reopens.
  • Education for consumers in this space is highly encouraged by retailers.

Total Store 

  • Grocery retailers remain the largest beneficiary of growth dollars.
  • Costco sales declined in April after panic buying subsided.
  • Consumers are still showing a preference for packaged items, and retailers are following the same preferences.
    • Certain cities/counties with plastic bag bans are having difficulty managing these changed measures from retailers.
  • Sixty-nine percent of consumers are cooking more food at home, with 91% of households now making consistent meals at home.
  • Retailers are figuring out how sustainability can function in a store focused on cleanliness and an efficient supply chain.
    • The majority of focus in this category has switched from packaging to an increased focus on food waste.
    • While food waste was a focus before March, it has become even more important as consumers continue to analyze the supply chain.
  • Local is expected to play a significant role in consumer summer grocery shopping coming in second to price.
  • Price-efficient products are expected to perform well throughout the next six months.
  • Thirty-three percent of consumers believe they still have at least six months dealing with the virus, if not more. This is up from 11% the week prior.
  • Eighty-one percent are planning on waiting longer to eat at restaurants and plan to continue cooking at home or ordering take-out.
    • Thirty-four percent will wait a few weeks after everything opens.

Forty-seven percent are planning to wait a month or more after restaurants open.

Click here for IRI Report – Week of April 26

Click here for Kantar Webinar Deck – May 8

For more information, reach out to [email protected]

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