The percentage of U.S. consumers who eat fruits and vegetables daily has dropped noticeably in recent years, according to the new Power of Produce report.
According to an article by Ashley Nickle, published in Produce Retailer, in 2018, 48% consumers reported eating fruits and/or vegetables just about every day. In 2019, the number dropped to 41%. In the most recent report, the number is 35%.
“The decline in self-reported consumption frequency is corroborated with volume pressure for the fresh produce industry since 2018,” the Food Industry Association (FMI) wrote in the report, which debuted at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure. “At the same time, the frozen foods department reversed its performance and seemingly picked up some of the produce volume lost for the fresh side.”
This change is not ideal for retailers because “trip frequency is highly related to fresh produce consumption,” FMI wrote. “Now more than ever, growth in produce sales is not about finding more buyers, but about finding ways to encourage current buyers to purchase (and eat) fresh produce more often.”
People more likely to consume fruits and vegetables just about every day include specialty and organic store shoppers (62%); club store shoppers (60%); younger boomers (48%); affluent shoppers (48%); people who make three or more grocery trips a week (46%); and people who buy produce online (45%).
On the other side of the spectrum, groups that are more likely to consume fruits and vegetables three days a week or fewer include Gen Z shoppers (54%); people who shop once a week or less (51%); lower-income shoppers (48%); and shoppers in rural areas (47%).
Almost everyone, however, reports they want to try to eat more fresh produce.