2021 retail product sales eclipse 2020 in dollars, but volume can’t keep up – Produce Blue Book
Editor’s Note: This is the sequel to the December Retail Sales Report, which can be viewed here.
The fourth quarter of 2021 has been disrupted by high levels of COVID-19 cases, high inflation and continued supply chain disruption.
“Americans are very aware of inflation, with 43% of them believing the prices to be a little higher and 48% of them seeing them as much higher,” said Jonna Parker, team leader for IRI Fresh, citing the December wave of IRI’s primary buyer survey. “Of those who have noticed inflation, 94% are worried. In addition, products are the second most frequently cited example by consumers of high-priced products. In response to the inflationary pressure around the store, 45% look for promotions more often, 21% buy more private labels and 13% visit different stores. About a third of buyers have not (yet) made any changes due to the price increases.
The combined effect of inflation, stockouts and the latest wave of COVID-19 has resulted in continued changes in food purchasing and consumption choices. In 2022, IRI, 210 Analytics and the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) will continue to partner to document the ever-changing market and its impact on sales of fresh produce.
Meals remained home-centered in December. According to the IRI survey of primary buyers, the share of meals prepared at home has remained at 80%. The share of in-store trips versus online shopping trips increased slightly in December (86%) from November levels (83%), possibly due to holiday shopping.
In the first months of the pandemic, up to 20% of trips were online. This figure fell to a low of 11% in July 2021.
Yet online shopping remains a complementary journey for most consumers. In December 2021, just 3% of people thought they would buy all their groceries online next month. This compares to 69% who think they will buy everything in-store, leaving 28% who will mix online and in-store grocery shopping. This signals a likely continuation of mixed-format purchases for 2022 for a significant number of people. “Mixed format purchasing is an important area to address for fresh produce,” Parker added. “Frozen and canned goods have a very high online conversion, but not everyone likes to buy fresh produce online. Reducing online shopping hesitation will help make the online basket of fresh produce a major growth area in 2022. “
The consumer price index rose 6.8% for the 12 months ending November 2021, its highest since June 1982, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unit price measured by IRI for all food and drink in stores with multiple outlets, including supermarkets, clubs, big box stores, supermarkets, drugstores, military and other stores. retail food, also shows that prices continued to rise beyond their high level. 2020 levels. In December 2021, the average unit price was up 8.3% from December 2020 for all food and beverages. For the year as a whole, prices rose 5.3%, driven by much more subdued inflation in the second quarter.
Prices for fresh produce are also higher than last year. In 2021, the price per volume (pound) of total fresh produce increased 6.5%, driven by much more subdued inflation at the start of the year. When it comes to inflation in December 2021 alone, a comparison with 2020 shows an increase of 14.7% for fresh fruit. December inflation levels are much lower for vegetables, but remain on average at + 4.6%.
“Prices in the store and the products in particular are not just a concern for consumers,” said Joe Watson, vice president, Retail, Foodservice and Wholesale for IFPA. “Such inflation affects volume sales and we are a volume driven company. Consumers’ efforts to save money usually start with buying what is on sale, but this is another area where we are struggling. Subsequent measures range from simply buying less to buying more frozen or canned, which is all the volume of pressure. “
2021 reported $ 691 billion in food and beverage sales, up 1.8% from 2020 and 15.8% from pre-pandemic 2019 normal. However, inflation has played an important role with unit sales still down 3.3%. Perishable products, including produce, seafood, meat, baked goods and deli meats, recorded the strongest year-over-year sales growth in 2021, at + 2.2%. Frozen foods saw the largest increase from pre-pandemic 2019 normal, at + 23.0%. The performance of the product department is in line with the rest of the store. Year-over-year dollar gains were slightly above average, with the comparison to 2019 slightly down.
From a dollar sales perspective, 2021 was another strong year for fresh produce, breaking the records set in 2020. However, dollar gains have been boosted by inflation and units and volume sales have increased. decreased from year to year. “Traditionally, we’ve always compared our performance to the year before and it’s a hard habit to break,” Watson said. “But when we remove the unprecedented demand of 2020 and compare to more typical 2019 levels, we see our true accomplishment. The fresh produce supply chain moved nearly 43 billion pounds in registers in 2021, 7.1% more than in 2019. ”
Top-selling fruits and vegetables in 2021
The best sales in 2021 reflect a mix of fruits and vegetables. Berry sales were almost double that of number two, apples and tomatoes were the biggest sellers on the vegetable side. In addition, berries had the highest growth rates among the top 10 sellers, at + 11.7%. Other areas with strong year-over-year growth were salads and melons.
Not all of the top 10 sellers have increased sales in 2021. Tomatoes, potatoes and peppers have lost some ground from their 2020 records.