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Trendspotting: Fresh fruit prices increased more than other categories in August

By
Craig Levitt, managing editor

Inflation continues to impact how consumers spend their hard-earned dollars, particularly in the supermarket. Nowhere has the impact been more significant than in the produce aisle. Fresh common fruit categories had the largest monthly price jump in August, rising 5.3 percent compared to the end of July, according to the August 2022 Price Check: Tracking Retail Food and Beverage Inflation, from the recently merged Information Resources Inc. and the NPD Group

August data show that prices of consumer goods remain elevated across categories. Prices for food at home rose 1.6 percent from the end of July to the end of August, and 13.4 percent year-over-year through the week ended Aug. 28.

"We are beginning to see consumers scale back purchases both in terms of units and volume in recent weeks, as retail food and beverage prices have continued to rise," said Krishnakumar (KK) Davey, president of thought leadership for CPG and retail for IRI and NPD. "While retail food and beverage sales had been fairly resilient, we're seeing signs of consumer stress, particularly among low-income households. Consumers are buying less in discretionary food and beverage categories, and are shopping more frequently in search of better prices. At the same time, consumers are willing to pay a premium for some categories — such as pasta, pasta sauce, butter and frozen entrées — which are considered affordable indulgences for more cash-strapped shoppers."

Overall, retail food and beverage unit sales declined 4.5 percent compared to a year ago, and volume sales declined 4 percent. Pantry stocking trips are down 0.6 percent, suggesting that consumers are looking for deals and “cherry picking” stores where they can get the best value. When they stock their pantries, there is an uptick in trips to mass merchandisers and club stores, indicating value-seeking behaviors.

Premiumization continues in select categories. Despite inflation, consumers are “trading up” and driving volume share to premium brands in several categories, including snack nuts and seeds, canned and bottled fruit, frozen entrées, fresh eggs and butter.

Craig Levitt

Craig Levitt

About Craig Levitt  |  email

When his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player came crashing down due to lack of talent, Craig Levitt turned to journalism. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1992 and has covered various areas of the retail food trade since 1996. Craig joined The Produce News in 2017 and is now managing editor. In his spare time, Craig still plays men’s league hockey (poorly) and enjoys walking the aisles of his favorite supermarket with his wife and two daughters.

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