Fresh categories, including produce, continue to drive retail growth, as center store edibles fall, according to a recent Nielsen Co. report.

“For retailers, the lesson is hopefully clear,” the report says. “Fresh can lead to total store success and a more experiential retail experience that keeps consumers in the store.”

For the 52 weeks ending July 1, the fresh produce category was up 1.7% in dollars and 1.1% in volume over the previous year, using Nielsen retail scan data.

Deli was a bigger winner in the fresh category, seeing 2% growth in both dollars and volume over last year.

The report encourages retailers to embrace the consumer shift.

“As consumers change where they spend their food dollars — with more being spent away from home, according to 2016 U.S. Department of Agriculture food expenditure data — retailers that can provide a variety of prepared foods will help ensure dollars stay in the grocery store,” it says.

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