March 27: Today’s Snapshot of Stories Impacting the Food Industry
Dear Mushroom growers, shippers, importers, marketers and allied colleagues:
IRI now has data from the week ending March 15 – the first full week reflecting grocery stockpiling as a result of the pandemic. It reveals total produce sales jumped by 34%. Most interesting, weekly retail sales of mushrooms ranked among the top 10 of all fresh fruits and vegetables, with a 35% sales increase during this period, thereby outpacing overall produce sales increases. In the company of other top performing “staples” like potatoes, tomatoes, apples, oranges, onions, carrots, peppers and squash! See the full article here.
While the COVID-19 impact is staggering to the foodservice industry, this retail sales data, as well as media coverage, demonstrate that fresh mushrooms continue to climb up the “staple” scale. Our monthly shipping reports revealed a run of record highs in late 2019, with December expected to exceed 90 million pounds, the first time that has occurred. By January, media placed mushrooms in their top 2020 top food trend forecasts in more than 50 articles. In February, CNN took notice and declared mushrooms the “new grocery aisle celebrities.” As this crisis took hold, media began noting mushrooms during this time.
Now, this IRI data is evidence that mushroom momentum will continue in the channels where they are available, and likely to be in high demand once the foodservice channel begins to recover. As consumers stockpile groceries and/or pivot to home cooking, they are considering mushrooms not just an ideal addition, but an important staple. No doubt foodservice operators will take note!