In his recent participation in the 22nd AECOC Fruit and Vegetable Congress, Pedro Egea, the director of the retail area of IRI, stated that fresh food in mass consumption had grown at a double-digit rate (10%) in the last TAM, driven both by price (+ 5.2%) and by demand (+ 4.6%).
Spain has had the biggest increase (+14%) in the value of fruit and vegetables among the European countries so far this year. It is followed by the Netherlands, with 10.9%, Italy, with 6.5%, France with 5.8 %, and the UK, with 2.7%.
Egea highlighted that, in recent months, during the supply and confinement period, the price of vegetables and fruit grew more than that of dry food, a trend that continued in the de-escalation period and in the 'new normal'. He also highlighted the relevant role that distributors and producers of fruit and vegetables had when demand reached unexpected peaks that tested the sector's capacity to react and its flexibility; proving that the sector was able to adapt quickly to circumstances.
By channels, the large supermarket channel (the main sales channel for fresh products) lost share in March and April as a result of the pandemic. This channel began to recover in July and August, but it didn't reach the weight it had in the months prior to the pandemic.
Egea also said that fruits and vegetables played a very important role in the different consumer needs during confinement: as an ingredient for cooking, as beneficial products for health, and as a healthy snack. In this sense, the COVID-19 crisis has boosted the fruits that have the highest contribution of vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, as well as tubers and green vegetables. Organic fruits and vegetables also grew faster than regular ones during the COVID-19 and the de-escalation period, although they are returning to pre-pandemic levels.
Finally, Pedro Egea pointed out that according to data from the study carried out by IRI and Lantern, manufacturers and retailers believe that consumers will prefer to purchase health-related products in the coming months.