Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association

Potatoes at Retail: Summary of reporting from the week ending on May 15, 2020

May 18, 2020

Sales at Retail April 27 – May 3, 2020
Retail produce sales continued to increase for the week ending on May 3, 2020. Vegetables outpaced fruit sales growth for the 10th week in a row. Vegetables have been gaining on fruit for almost a year, but the fresh vegetable growth has amplified the last ten weeks.

Potatoes remained the number one item in dollar sales percentage growth in the fresh vegetable category.



  • Consumers continue to purchase food with health benefits.
  • Immunity boosting foods show a significant preference from consumers.
    • The increase in citrus purchasing shows the consumer demand for natural vitamin C in produce.
  • Functional foods known to consumers have seen substantial growth.
  • Mental health is a trend that emerged prior to April and is at the forefront now.
  • Organic produce sales continue to outpace conventional produce sales in percentage growth. Conventional produce sales are still driving significantly more dollars and volume.


  • Retailers are showing their appreciation for their customers as in-store shopping results in less positive experiences.
  • Ninety-two percent of consumers reported negative in-store experiences at the beginning of April. This was impacted by product availability and their interactions with retail staff.

Message from Publix

Grocery Store Perimeter

  • The recession in 2008 brought a resurgence to stores’ deli-prepared section, and similar buying patterns show the same resurgence.
    • Consumers used the deli to treat themselves with restaurant-style foods at a lower cost during the last recession. They are currently buying similar items from this area.
  • Deli-prepared sales are still down with many of the deli departments lacking the fresh bars.
    • Specialty meats and cheeses carry sales from this department.
  • Retailers are promoting deli items as ingredients as opposed to whole meals.
  • Produce continues to have elevated sales and is the second-highest performing department compared to meat.
  • Local products are expected to show significant preference from consumers as they learn more about the supply chain.

Center Store

  • Forty-six percent of frozen vegetable purchasers did not buy frozen vegetables during the same week last year.
  • Consumers continue purchasing produce items from center store in both frozen and canned varieties.
  • Supply and significant out of stocks on frozen and canned vegetables in the western U.S. are impacting these increases from being even larger.


  • E-commerce sales in grocery retail have accelerated its growth rate to the 2025 trajectory numbers.
    • Fresh produce sales are up by 68% or higher compared to the sales a year ago.
  • Consumers’ produce sales increased in baskets since the beginning of March. The more times consumers order online, the greater amount of fresh produce they are comfortable purchasing. Consumers are reporting difficulty searching for products online with retailers.
  • Consumers are starting with fresh items in their online baskets and building from there.
    • This is a significant change from prior to March where fresh was inconsistently ordered.

Potatoes USA launched an online campaign with Albertsons/Safeway on May 13, 2020. Recipes are being promoted through the retailer’s social channels within the consumer’s geographical area. The social links send consumers back to a potato focused landing page on Albertsons/Safeway’s website.

Click here for PMA Produce Report – May 3, 2020

For more information, reach out to [email protected].

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