More and more people are seeing a correlation between what they eat, how they feel, and their health needs. Consumers are finally starting to care about the quality of the food they eat, where it comes from, and how it’s grown. That’s why, in recent years, the fruit and produce market has seen a pretty hefty uptick in consumer consumption. The organic produce market has also seen an increase, with more and more families choosing organic year after year. Here’s more on the state of fruit consumption in the United States in 2020.
- Current Fruit Buying Trends
- Top 20 Fruits Sold in the U.S.
- How Have Purchasing Patterns in Fruit and Produce Changed Over Time?
- Are Avocados Really the Trendiest Fruit?
- Other Up-and-Coming Fruits
- More Info on the State of Fruit Consumption
Current Fruit Buying Trends
People are now paying attention to the types of foods they eat and how they affect their long-term health. According to Whole Foods, consumers have now started looking for products that are said to boost health and longevity more than ever before. Superfoods, such as berries, avocados, and mangoes, have become more popular due to their health claims. Superfoods are nutrient-dense powerhouses that provide large amounts of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Consumers love knowing that the food they eat is actually working to improve their health while tasting great at the same time.
These niche superfood products have seen a recent sales boom, particularly in the high-end market (such as Whole Foods or farm to table markets). As a consequence, these products are showing a strong CAGR (or compound annual growth rate) growth of about 17%, according to Technavio. Meanwhile, more common produce items such as oranges and tomatoes have seen little growth year over year.
Organic products have also seen an uptick in recent years. A significant number of consumers are looking for pure and natural products to feed themselves and their families. Organically produced fruit and vegetables are known for being healthier for you, and some consumers say they taste better than conventional products. Currently, the demand for organically produced goods continues to show two-digit growth year over year, according to the USDA. This provides market incentives for U.S. farmers and makes it easier to find buyers and better margins. On the other hand, increasingly demanding organic standards make it more challenging for farmers to meet ever-changing regulations.
The biggest drivers of the organic produce boom are millennial parents. According to Food Business News, a 2016 survey from the Organic Trade Association found that millennial parents represent the largest group of organic consumers in the United States. Among American mothers and fathers, over half of those buying organic are millennials. Only about a third of Generation X parents and 14% of Baby Boomer parents choose organic. Additionally, more households are buying organic overall, with nearly half of all households surveyed reporting that they’re buying more organic foods today than a year ago.
Consumers are also becoming more sophisticated in terms of how they shop. According to a 2019 report from Fruit Logistica, consumers are choosing their supermarket based on the quality of the store’s fresh food, the fresh fruit and vegetable section being the top priority. The survey showed that customers who were satisfied with the store’s fresh food quality would visit those stores more frequently than those who are not. Additionally, the survey found that consumers are willing to pay more for higher-quality fresh produce. This showed the increased importance of fresh fruit and vegetables for driving sales in the retail supermarket space.
Additionally, sustainability is another important factor in fruit consumption. There has been a recent push for environmental and socio-economical sustainability in regard to the fresh produce industry. Consumers care about where their food comes from and how their food choices are impacting the earth more than ever. Some of the most important issues in the industry are food loss and waste, packaging, and chemical use, according to a report from Fruit Logistica. More companies in the sector will continue to invest in sustainability to help improve their brand reputation in the eyes of discerning consumers.
Additionally, Whole Foods is predicting an increased demand for refrigerated snacks in single-serve packaging. While healthy snacking is on the rise, consumers don’t have time to peel or cut up fruit for snacking. Instead, consumers prefer grab and go options. Whole Foods predicts that wholesome, fresh snacks prepared and portioned in advance will take off. Of course, innovation is the driving force here as companies create new and unique products to meet this growing demand. Brands that prioritize convenience are the ones that will come out ahead, whether that’s creating on-the-go snack options or even pre-cut fruit and vegetable packages for side dishes and main meals. Outside of the grocery store, our Fresh Fruit Salad is an excellent choice for easy, grab and go snacking.
Top 20 Fruits Sold in the U.S.
PMA, a global fresh produce trade organization, gathered up data as to which fruits are most popular in the United States. According to their data, avocados recently shot up the list, while mango, which was new to the list in 2018, has also moved up rapidly. Nectarines are back on the list. Here’s the list in order from most to least popular:
Check out our Fruit Fix Box, which features three of the most popular fruits, bananas, strawberries, and apples covered in mouth-watering semisweet chocolate.
How Have Purchasing Patterns in Fruit and Produce Changed Over Time?
Grocery stores have changed quite a bit in the past 50 years. First, grocery stores are a lot larger than they were in the past. In the 60s and 70s, most grocery stores covered just around 10,000 square feet, according to Grocery Dive. Today, the average grocery store has more than tripled in size to around 40,000 square feet or more. Along with this extra space, consumers have access to a larger variety of foods and a greater number of choices.
In fact, today’s grocery shoppers have an average of about 47,000 products to choose from in a typical grocery store, up from just under 9,000 in the mid-70s, according to Consumer Reports. That means that consumers also have more fruits and vegetables to choose from. You’re likely to have a multitude of different options to choose from, even within the same fruit item. For instance, one grocery store could easily carry ten different types of apples, not including organic or locally sourced varieties. In the 60s and 70s, this was far from the case, with consumers probably having only two to three options for the same fruit.
The same is even more true for different varieties of fruit. Fifty years ago, fruit imported across the world wasn’t possible. Therefore, consumers wouldn’t be able to get out-of-season fruit or fruit grown in different parts of the world. Imported fruits have increased steadily for decades, partially due to loosened trade restrictions and partially due to improved production and shipping methods. In fact, according to The New York Times, more than half of all produce sold is imported.
Additionally, buying organic, locally-sourced produce hasn’t always been the norm. Twenty-five years ago, consumers weren’t concerned about brands, sustainability, or organic produce. In fact, organic regulations on what’s considered organic food weren’t even in place until 2002.
Today, shoppers can find organic choices in almost every aisle, including fresh produce. Additionally, consumers are more likely to see local products on their shelves. Fifty years ago, local produce was sold almost exclusively at roadside stands and farmer’s markets. Today, huge chains like Whole Foods have gotten in on the local bandwagon, which has created tough competition for small farmer’s markets. Many small farmer’s markets have gone out of business in favor of these big nationwide food chains because they drive prices down too low for farmer’s markets to compete.
Are Avocados Really the Trendiest Fruit?
Avocados have recently risen to fame as the country’s trendiest fruit. But, are people really interested in avocados? And why are they so trendy? Well, in fact, the sale of avocados has grown every year for the past 15 years, according to The Washington Post. In 2015, the sale of avocados soared to a new record of about 4.25 billion avocados, which is more than double the amount in 2005 and almost four times as many sold in 2000.
One of the biggest reasons for the rise of avocados in the United States is loosened import restrictions, which previously did not allow shipments of the fruit to the U.S. from Mexico. Mexico is the world’s largest producer, so these restrictions hampered the sale of the fruit. Without Mexico in the picture, California was the only region in the country that could produce the fruit, and they couldn’t grow them year-round or consistently get them on supermarket shelves outside of the West Coast. Since the 1990s, import restrictions have slowly lifted, allowing more avocados from Mexico to be sold in the United States. Additionally, growers have improved production methods and have perfected the art of shipping the fruit across the country. Many types of avocados bruise or ripen too quickly on supermarket shelves. Haas avocados, on the other hand, ripen slowly, keep for much longer, and have a thick skin to prevent bruising.
Additionally, several studies have come out linking consumption of the fruit to healthier overall diets, including one in 2013 and another more recently in 2019. Additionally, new insight into the role fats play in our diets has also turned the tide on avocados. Since avocados are high in monosaturated fats (the good kind of fat), they are now considered one of the healthiest foods to eat.
Consumers also don’t mind paying a pretty penny for their avocados. The average price comes in at around one dollar per fruit, but that isn’t slowing down consumption. Americans continue to buy more at the grocery store and farmer’s markets each year. Despite the hefty price tag, it seems that consumers simply love their avocados too much to let the trend die down.
Other Up-and-Coming Fruits
You might be surprised at some of the up-and-coming fruit favorites. One such rising star is, in fact, starfruit. According to Business Insider, this rise in popularity is fueled by Instagram, which tends to favor aesthetically pleasing foods. Starfruit not only makes a great social media picture, but it also has a number of benefits. It is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, and other vitamins and has been shown to improve people’s antioxidant status. It has also been found to reduce fatty liver risk and cholesterol in mice.
Another rising up-and-comer is jackfruit. Jackfruit is often used as a vegan protein because it takes on a meat-like quality when cooked. This fruit has been popular as a meat replacement for some time, but consumption has recently increased in the United States. This is, in part, due to the rise in veganism, which has been rapidly increasing in recent years. In fact, according to Forbes, the number of U.S. consumers who considered themselves vegan grew from 1% to 6% between 2014 and 2017, which is an astonishing 600% increase. While that’s still a small percentage, these statistics show that more consumers are increasingly jumping aboard veganism.
Mangoes are also likely to see an increase in the next few years. Though they’re already number 16 on the list of the most popular fruits, they’re likely to move quite a few spots up the list in the coming years. Similarly to avocados, the mango market has increased due to loosening trade regulations with the parts of the world where they’re grown, namely Mexico and Brazil. People are beginning to catch on to just how delicious mangoes are. They’re sweet, creamy, and have a slightly tropical flavor. Mangoes are also high in vitamin C and fiber.
If your mouth is watering for some delicious fresh fruit, order a fresh fruit box, a box of fruit favorites, or a box of fresh fruits and tasty sweet treats from Edible Arrangements®. We’ll hand-deliver a box of the freshest, finest-quality fruits straight to your door.
More Information on the State of Fruit Consumption
If you’re looking for more information on the state of fruit consumption, check out these articles, reports, and studies:
- USDA Organic Market Overview
- Top 20 Fruits and Vegetables Sold in the U.S.
- Whole Foods Market predicts top 10 food trends for 2020
- U.S. fruit & Vegetables Market Size Worth $1,117.3 Billion By 2025
- Fruit & Vegetable Markets in the US Market Size 2003–2026
- Most of America’s Fruit Is Now Imported. Is That a Bad Thing
- Do the Right Thing (Right)
- Consumers want more fresh foods and transparency