August’s summer weather, time off and travel boosted restaurant dining. According to the Circana (formerly IRI) monthly consumer surveys with primary grocery shoppers, the share of all meals prepared at home averaged 76.8 percent in August 2023. “That marks a multi-year low and restaurants saw strong engagement with on-premise dining (53 percent of consumers), takeout (50 percent) and delivery (20 percent),” said Jonna Parker, team lead, Fresh with Circana.
Findings from Circana’s August survey of 1,000+ primary grocery shoppers included:
- Preventing at-home food waste has been the biggest change in meal preparation tactics in reaction to the ongoing high cost of food. “The importance of food waste has grown as a social, but also an economic issue,” said Joe Watson, IFPA’s VP of retail, foodservice and wholesale.
- Consumer curiosity is somewhat subdued with only 16 percent browsing aisles looking for new items to try.
- Shopping remains in-store-centric with only five percent of consumers buying all groceries online
Consumers continue shifting their dollars across items, brands, sizes, stores and restaurants. Circana, 210 Analytics and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) document the impact on sales patterns in fresh produce.
The price per unit across all foods and beverages in the Circana-measured multi-outlet stores, including supermarkets, club, mass, supercenter, drug and military, increased by 3.6 percent in August. When comparing August 2023 to August 2020, prices have increased by 25.2 percent.
Retailers invested in fruit prices in August. The average price per pound for fruit decreased by 2.1 percent over year-ago levels. Vegetables sustained small price increases of 0.5 percent versus August 2022.
August 2023 fresh produce sales reached $7.5 billion. Weekly fresh produce sales averaged around $1.5 billion and year-on-year dollar and pound comparisons were steady.
Produce dollar sales growth has been in the plus since the third quarter of 2021. Produce pounds have mostly tracked behind.
The investment in price on the fruit side paid off in large volume gains of 2.2 percent over August 2022. Vegetables kept pounds flat.
“The reign of berries continued in August,” said Watson. “The five August weeks generated $815 million in berry sales alone with substantial dollar and pound gains. Seasonal powerhouse cherries continued to trend in the top 10 with $178 million in sales, which was down in dollars as retailers upped their promotional investment, but flat in pounds.”
Other fruits with increased volume sales were melons, avocados and pineapples.
“The dollar and pound performance among the top 10 vegetable sellers was all over the board,” Parker said. “Potatoes pound sales increased despite higher prices this year.”
Other vegetables with year-over-year pound increases were onions, peppers and cucumbers.
The next report, covering September, will be released in mid-October.
Click here to see the report.