For some consumers, the availability of new store formats entering the marketplace had a direct effect on their produce purchases this year.
Fifty-nine percent of shoppers said that new stores brought a greater variety in the types and amounts of fresh produce available in their area, so they were buying more simply based on availability.
Others said that new store formats evened the playing field, so they were able to get better deals because of greater competition among stores.
Health food formats were also helpful in increasing produce purchases—27% of shoppers said that having these stores nearby increased the amount of produce they bought.
While new formats might have made it easier to secure fresh fruits and vegetables, consumers also appear to be revamping their habits, which is boosting produce intake.
Three-quarters of those surveyed said they had changed their eating/buying habits over the course of the past year.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they were eating at home more over the past 12 months, and 32% opted to ditch processed products in favor of more fresh foods.
Slightly more than half of consumers (52%) said they bought the majority of their produce in bulk; however, the trend toward packaged produce is increasing, as 52% of shoppers said they had purchased more packaged produce than bulk over the past five years.
Nearly six in 10 consumers (59%) said they were choosing fresh produce as a snack more now than they had five years prior.