Retail roundup: Brits setting high marks with COVID produce purchases
Photo courtesy of Don Limon

Retail roundup: Brits setting high marks with COVID produce purchases

Produce Business reports

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UK supermarket Tesco says it has seen demand from health-conscious consumers skyrocket as they’ve turned to fruits and vegetables in record numbers. 

The retailer says the lean to fresh produce is the most it has seen in more than 20 years, spurred by stay-at-home cooks who are using fresh ingredients to whip up meals.

Two of its biggest sellers might be surprising: Maris Piper potatoes and limes, which have both increased by 60%. Next up are aubergines and butternut squash at +50% and leeks by +40%. Red onion sales have increased by 30%. Supplier Branston noted that roast dinners during the winter season have helped boost potato buying.

“In particular we are seeing extremely strong demand for UK-grown vegetables used in roasts, stews and soups so it looks as if many people are going back to old family recipes or digging out cookery books now they have more time at home,” said Tesco Produce Category Buying Manager Emma Richards. “Chestnut mushrooms, which are high in Vitamin D, have also seen a major increase in popularity over the last 12 months and fruit such as apples, pears, and berries have all seen record growth in the last year.”

Apple sales have increased 10%, and supplier Richard Hochfeld has been tabbed by Tesco for 25% more applies this year than last year.

“Shopping habits have changed in the last year, and people buy more but shop less frequently,” said Richard Hochfeld Managing Director of Apples and Pears Chris Guindi. “As a result shoppers want their produce to last longer in the home. Apples have amazing storage capability which has helped increase their popularity.”
Targeting Aldi’s pricing: Retailer Sainsbury’s says it is going to match Aldi on hundreds of items, including food staples such as fruits and vegetables. In all, Sainsbury’s is reducing prices on 250 items to coincide with those from the discount supermarket. One of the items: Imperfectly Tasty Baby Potatoes, a 1 kg package that was 95p is now 65p.

“We are making great progress delivering our Food First plan and I’m determined that in these tough times, we do even more to help our customers save money,” said CEO Simon Roberts. “Our new commitment to match Aldi prices on hundreds of our most popular products will mean our customers can be confident that they are getting the quality they expect from Sainsbury’s at great prices.” 

Nisa invests in recruitment: The retailer has created a new position – induction manager – that it says will support all new Nisa partners as they begin working with the company. The position will become “a key point of contact for all new stores” and make for a more cohesive on-boarding experience.

“We recognise that joining a symbol group is a big step for independent retailers and we want to demonstrate how much we value them and their decision to join our award-winning business by the provision of this dedicated supporting role which will guide them through the early stages of their new journey with Nisa,” said Chris Moore, head of new business at Nisa.



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