The fresh produce category is a key element of the total grocery market which is valued at €10.7bn with fresh produce contributing close to 15% of this value in 2018. The retail market for fresh produce was valued at €1.53bn in 2018 which was a slight increase of 0.2% on 2017. This was driven by a higher average shelf price across the whole category with overall volumes marginally back by 0.1% year on year. It is likely that last summer’s severe drought which had a major impact on the growing season had some influence on this outcome. This category subdivides into fruit, which was valued at €762m, vegetables valued at €565m and potatoes, which were valued at €207m last year.
The vegetable category was the one fresh produce category that recorded a reduction in its overall value in 2018 and was back 2.6% on the previous year. While the overall average unit price for the category was actually up by 0.7% the volume sold was back by 3.2% with a lower volume purchased per buyer a key contributor.
The value of the fruit category was up by 0.7% with a higher average unit price on shelf of 1.9% across the category driving this trend and resulting in a lower volume purchased of 1.2 %. The purchase frequency by the fruit buyer remained stable at 107 purchase occasions in 2018.
The value of the potato category in 2018 was up significantly by 6.3%. The average unit price on shelf was up by 6.9% last year but despite this increase the volume purchased was only marginally back compared with 2017 by 0.5%. It was encouraging to see the overall purchase frequency for potatoes continue to increase in 2018 reaching 37 purchase occasions per annum continuing a trend of increasing potato sales at retail point over recent years. The summer drought reduced the volume of potatoes harvested in 2018 and available to the market.