October, 2022 – Insights to Action

As consumers adapt to inflationary prices, demand continues to weaken

With forty weeks of the year in the books, inflationary pressures continue to have an adverse effect on produce demand. Produce dollars have grown 4.7% to $59B, while volume in down (4.4%). Moreover, the last 4 weeks show the largest decline of volume this year at (5.6%) vs prior year.1

Graph of YTD trends through 40 weeks. 

The two largest regions in produce dollar sales are on opposite sides of the performance rankings. The Southeast continues to outpace U.S. at +7.0% vs. 2021, while the Northeast continues to struggle with only 2.5% growth.1

Map of the United States with regional performance YTD thru 40 weeks. 

Berries continue as the top seller in produce with a large base business and notable dollar growth rate of 6.8%. Melons, potatoes, and avocados continue to perform well.1 Berries and grapes remain the only two of the top ten that are still growing volume.

Graph of top ten fruit and vegetables. 

Under pressure: The state of the US consumer7

Sourced from a recent study presented by our partners at Numerator

    Financial concerns far outweigh other consumer considerations.
  • All consumer groups are feeling the effects of inflation; unlike in early 2022 when inflation disproportionately impacted lower income, Gen Z and African American households.
  • 3 in 4 households feel that the country is already in an economic recession.
  • Historically, 9 of the 12 times that the Federal Reserve has raised rates to combat inflation have led to recession.
  • Consumers are pessimistic; however, they have continued to spend but at a fading rate.
Circle graph of consumer mindset. 

Inflation is impacting buying behaviors and it may take time for it to go down7

Graph of YoY percent change over 2021, 2022, and forecasted 2023 and 2024. 

Mixed signals economy: watch what consumers do, not just what they say7

Graphic of consumer market. 

A price to pay1

Breakdown of price per volume and percent change from 2020 to 2021. 
  • Through forty weeks, produce price per pound has increased by 9.6%, with trends regressing the last 4 weeks.
  • Retailers must consider how current environment is affecting consumer shopping behavior. Having the correct assortment with value driven promotions will keep shoppers engaged.

Shoppers are engaged, but becoming more cost conscious4

Line graph of produce volume and trip index. 
  • Over the last 2 years, inflation has forced consumers to shop differently.
  • Shoppers are still engaged with product trips, up 1% over the last 52 weeks.
  • Shoppers are still engaged with product trips, up 1% over the last 52 weeks.
  • Retailers have started to initiate strategies to align with changing consumer behavior.
    • Increased frequency of promotion
    • Strategic depth on promotions (traffic drivers)
    • Implementing loyalty benefits/perks
Bar graph and line graph of dial-a-truck Reefer load to truck ratio. 
  • Currently, the ratio metrics are still significantly lower than where the market began the year and continue to be below last year’s ratios. In August, the rates were in fact below the 2020 actuals.
  • Fuel rates were $4.84 per gallon in September, which is slightly lower than August, but still 47.5% higher than September 2021.3

Calc – Divide the number of load posts by the number of truck posts on DAT load boards, and that’s the load-to-truck ratio. When there are a lot of load posts, or there are very few truck posts – or both – the load-to-truck ratio goes up. If there aren’t many loads, or there are a lot of truck available, the ratio goes down.

The holiday season is upon us5

Spreadsheet showing Thanksgiving vs Christmas statistics.  

Thanksgiving is the largest meal occasion holiday of the year

Bar graph of total produce US Multi Outlet over Thanksgiving 2019-2021.

  • Thanksgiving holiday has historically driven shopper engagement within produce…leading to more trips and the largest backet size ($) of the year.
  • Vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and celery are promoted frequently to provide ingredients and side items to family meals.
  • Additionally, fruits such as pineapples, mandarins, grapes, and berries see a significant presence in ads.
  • Retailers can assist shoppers in creating that special meal occasion for Thanksgiving.
  • Maximize sales by building large holiday related displays and place incremental points of interruption to cross merchandise meal ingredients and sides.

Contact your account manager for local activation


  1. IRI Integrated Fresh, Total US, MULO, Building Calendar Year 2022 Ending 10.2.22.
  2. IRI Integrated Fresh, Total US, MULO, (Historical).
  3. DAT Trucking Industry Trends: Reefer, Data Trendlines 2022.
  4. IRI Panel Data, Total US All Outlets (Historical)
  5. Numerator 2022 Holiday Preview Survey 1/26/22 (n=11,578)?
  6. IRI Integrated Fresh, Total US, MULO, Thanksgiving (2WK) 2019-2021
  7. Under Pressure: The state of the US consumer, Numerator, Sept 2022
  8. Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.