Research from IRI shows that every quarter since Q2 2020, the year-on-year variations of fresh fruit dollar sales at retail channels have been not only in positive territory but have reached double-digit growth rates in several quarters in the past couple of years.
However, since the second half of 2021, dollar produce sales have continued to be higher compared to the previous year and higher than pre-pandemic levels. Nevertheless, the volume growth has recently been in negative territory year-on-year. In February 2022, fruit dollar retail sales increased by almost 12% annually, while volume sales declined 4% year-on-year.
Examples of fruits in this situation are apples, table grapes, avocados, oranges, and pineapples. Retail dollar sales and volume sales in the berry category (including the four major berries) increased about 20% in February 2022 compared to retail sales of the category 12 months before.
With this, berries not only account for the largest value share in the fresh fruit segment but also the largest retail sales increase both in volume and value. Strong consumer demand for strawberries has incentivized multi-year high acreage in California. As a result, strawberry availability is expected to improve in 2022. Strawberry prices were at USD 14 per flat for a non-organic product at the beginning of April, down 18% from very strong prices a year ago.