Specialty Crops Market News Division

The coming onslaught of winter holiday shopping

With Thanksgiving meals now reduced to lunchbox leftovers, retailers are prepared for the onslaught of winter holiday shoppers. Popular items were largely the same as last week: holiday staples such as sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, asparagus, avocados, celery, potatoes, citrus, grapes, cranberries, pomegranates and berries. Several retailers featured large gift and Christmas sections this week, reducing produce ad space. In addition, many retailers ran extended ads stretching from last week into Thanksgiving Day, so numbers for new ads were low this week.

Total ad numbers this week were 328,210, a 23% decrease from last weeks 426,792. The total number of ads broken out by commodity groups: fruit 164,469 (50% of all ads), onions and potatoes 36,985 (11%), vegetables 119,463 (36%), herbs 1,018 and ornamentals 6,275 (2%). The number of ads for organic produce was 38,166, 12% of total ads.

The following are the prices of major advertised items (3,000 plus stores) this week, compared to the same week last year. Significant increases in price for fruit items this week included avocados at 14%, blackberries at 14%, and Gala apples at 12%. Significant decreases included only black seedless grapes at 18%. There were no significant changes in price for onions and potatoes this week. Significant increases for vegetables this week included only baby carrots at 14%. Significant decreases included Brussels sprouts at 32% and broccoli at 17%. Poinsettias were 12% lower than last year in the same week.

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