Toronto, ON – March 10, 2021 – Citrus, Asian and Indian vegetables including cooking roots such as garlic, ginger and turmeric, lead the way in year-on-year growth during 2020 in Ontario retail produce departments.
The report, produced by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) shows an overall increase of 8.3% in produce sales growth compared to 5.2% in 2019 and an 8.1% increase in tonnage growth compared to a 2% reduction in 2019.
Vegetables took the lead with an 11% increase in sales compared to their fruit counterparts which saw a 6.1% growth in sales. Growth can be attributed to more at-home cooking during the pandemic and possibly consumers replicating their favourite restaurant meals at home. Resulting in a bump in vegetable sales and a desire to try non-conventional produce items.
“The findings of this report indicate increased grocery spend on fresh produce,” noted OPMA President, Michelle Broom. “Whether it’s being driven by a desire to build immune defenses in the face of a pandemic, or wanting to experiment with different flavor profiles, Ontario consumers are spending more time than ever in the produce aisle.”
Tomatoes, potatoes and peppers saw the highest growth in sales while potatoes, onions and carrots experienced the largest tonnage increase in the vegetable category. When it came to fruit, oranges, strawberries and cherries were the top commodities in sales growth, while avocados, watermelon and oranges led the way in tonnage growth.
“This research points to unique opportunities for both suppliers and retailers,” said Mike Mauti, Managing Partner at Execulytics Consulting. “While consumers are still doing a lot of their cooking at home, it’s a good time for suppliers to diversify with a larger variety, perhaps adding specialty or multicultural vegetables into their offering. Retailers can capitalize on the growing desire for exotic fruits and look at in-store merchandising changes to strengthen this category.”
Fruits that saw a decline in tonnage growth include cut fruit, grapes, apples and pears. On the vegetable side, salad greens and Italian vegetables underperformed in total vegetables and total produce both in sales and tonnage. A decline in these commodities can be explained by the consumer’s desire to experiment more with their home cooked meals.
This report is based on NielsenIQ MarketTrack data for fresh produce sold in Ontario grocery banner, mass merchandiser and drug channels for the 52 weeks ending October 3, 2020. Additional analysis was conducted by Execulytics Consulting. Access to the full report is available to OPMA members on the OPMA’s website.
About the Ontario Produce Marketing Association: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is a member funded, not for profit organization whose mission is to connect people and information from field to plate.
For more information contact:
Emilia De Sousa
Marketing and Communications Manager