December 2023 - Insights to Action

New Year produce trends: Expect stable volume demand into the holiday season and beyond

  • Year to date, the category continues to improve with volume now flat, while dollar sales are growing +1.7%
  • Fruit and vegetables are performing similar in dollar sales, but fruit holds the advantage in volume performance
  • Center store inflation correction continues, but is lagging produce


Produce category regional performance YTD (48 weeks)1

Southeast and the mid-south regions—the two areas where Walmart is most developed—continue to lead in regional rankings.

Table of regions broken down by dollar share of produce, dollar percent change vs 2022, and volume percent change vs 2022. 

Top 10 fruit and vegetables based on sales1

  • Many inelastic commodities were resilient in the inflationary environment
  • Higher register ring items, like salad kits, continue to struggle as consumers trade down while remaining in category.

Bar graph of produce broken down by dollar sales. 

Fresh produce trends to expect in 2024

  • Eating at home should continue with disposable income dwindling
  • Consumers will be actively looking for promotions
    • With lingering economic concerns, consumers will look to stretch dollars
  • Multi-channel shopping will persist with the availability of “value” retailers
  • Loyalty program emphasis to increase shopper engagement
    • Effective defense in the fight for the shopper's dollar
  • Shoppers will expect a digital presence going forward
    • Shopper journey now starts online
  • SKU/assortment shifts due to inflation aftermath
    • Shrinkflation, retailer SKU rationalization
    • Private label/small brand growth continues
  • Retailers will have a renewed focus on controlling lost revenue factors
    • Self-checkout theft, product shrink, out of stocks
  • Sustainability focus continues (retailer and generation driven)
    • In addition to quality and price, environmentally-friendly products will continue to be a factor for younger generation shoppers
    • Locally grown, fair trade, and CEA platforms will also resonate well
  • Meal solutions/convenience items should see uptick in sales

How inflation impacts December produce trends1

  • Inflation has eased within produce, but prices are still elevated compared to 2021
  • Promotional strategies must incorporate increased cost of goods and subsequent “new” base price norms

Table showing price per volume and percent change in 2022 and 2021. 

Produce demand forecasting: The inflation curve comparative

  • Produce inflation has improved over the last year, which has stabilized demand going into 2024
  • Total edible inflation has also improved, but lags produce progression and is still elevated going into the new year

Bar graph of price change by percent vs PY for total edible and produce. 

December holiday produce trends3

  1. Expect consumers to celebrate this Christmas similarly to last year. Gifts and food will be the most widely purchased items this Christmas.
  2. 93% of survey respondents expect to celebrate Christmas this year, 80% expect to purchase food for their holiday celebrations, and 87% expect to spend the same or more than last year. 
  3. While vegetables dominate Thanksgiving, fruit tends to be more popular for Christmas, with apples, pineapples, citrus, and avocados being a few of the top promotional items in the two weeks prior to Christmas. 
  4. Online retailers will likely see the most activity this Christmas season as 70% of survey respondents indicated they will shop online, with 39% saying they will spend at a traditional grocery store.  

Recipe for a holiday fruit wreath 

  1. Circana Integrated Fresh, Total U.S., MULO, Calendar Year 2023 Ending 12.3.23
  2. Circana Panel Data, Total U.S.- all outlets, Calendar Year 2023 Ending 12.3.23
  3. Numerator Q4 2023 Holiday Survey