SAN ANTONIO – Reeling from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the US, consumers are stocking up on fresh food and pantry staples. 210 Analytics analyzed sales results provided by IRi and noted that total grocery stores sales jumped 62.5% over the week ending on March 15. 

The total perimeter increased 44.9% with produce sales up 33.9% and meat sales up 76.9%

Vegetables hopped up 41% over 2019 and added $242.2 million in sales. Fruits gained 27% and added $150.2 million in sales. 

“We’re seeing big gains for nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables with incredible acceleration for items such as potatoes, yams, oranges and mandarins,” said Jonna Parker, Team Lead for Fresh at IRi. “Additionally, shoppers’ stock-up mindset is driving a huge surge in demand for frozen and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables that have longer shelf-life.” 

While fresh produce is experiencing moderate growth during these unprecedented times frozen and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables show gains ranging from 103.5-207.7% starting with frozen fruit and ending with shelf-stable vegetables at the top of sales. 

The biggest sellers in fresh produces were potatoes which soared 76.1% and $44.2 million in sales, followed by lettuce which added $42.8 million, up 29.1%, and then berries (up $37.4 million or 31.8%), apples (up $29.9 million or 36.9%) and tomatoes (up 27.6 million or 43.2%). 

Snackable fruits saw the largest boosts. Apples generated 15% of all fruit sales, up 36.9%, oranges generated 5% up 60.9% with a 50.2% increase for tangelos. 

In the vegetable category consumers are seeking out the produce with the longest shelf life with the largest gains in potatoes and onions (up 59.2%). 

“It is important to remember that these kinds of sales surges are only possible thanks to the heroic work of the entire produce supply chain, from farm to retailer,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics. “As COVID-19 related measures continued to sharpen during the subsequent week, it is highly likely we’ll continue to see produce sales surge.”