The fresh produce department is often counted as being one of the main determinants among consumers when selecting a grocery store. In 2021, the fruit and vegetable market in the U.S. was valued at over 5.2 billion U.S. dollars. In the same year, the sales of fresh fruit made up over 48 percent of produce sales in the U.S., making it one of the most lucrative fresh food categories. In order to help drive sales, producers frequently launch in-store marketing campaigns. Ideas range from promoting the healthy benefits of fruit, to offering convenient, value-added snack-size options.
As of April 2020, consumers were far more likely to purchase frozen or shelf-stable fruits and vegetables over fresh due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Frozen blueberries saw a 25 percent sales growth compared to the previous year, whereas fresh blueberries only saw a five percent increase. Consumers were likely concerned about the shelf-life of the food they purchased. Especially since the consumer price index for fresh fruit in the U.S. rose by almost 20 points in 2021, reaching the highest price index in the last 15 years.
The vast majority of Americans use fresh produce. Over 93 percent of the population, in fact, according to a 2020 survey. Less than three percent reported not using any fresh produce at all. Bananas had the highest per capita consumption in that year, reaching over 27 pounds per person. That is almost double the per capita consumption of apples, the next leading fruit.
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