Navigating the produce aisle: Freshness reigns, but will Americans pay for year-round availability?
January 31st, 2024, Janice Fernandes

Navigating the produce aisle: Freshness reigns, but will Americans pay for year-round availability?

Recently we looked at Americans’ grievances when shopping in-person and factors that influence their choice of supermarket. But what are the factors that drive their purchase choices once they are in supermarkets?

Freshness is the most chosen factor, with more than three-quarters of US consumers (78%) prioritizing it when buying fruits and vegetables. Freshness is so significant that it even trumps price, which is selected by 70% of respondents.

Taste is also right up there. It emerges as a crucial consideration for 64% of respondents overall, while seasonality rounds off the top four factors with roughly two-fifths of respondents picking it as a consideration.

Country of origin holds less sway, with only 18% of respondents citing it as a purchase factor. Organic certification is a priority for 15% of respondents overall, with an upward trend as income increases: 12% for those under $40k, 14% for $40k to $79.9k, and 22% for $80k+. Environmental impact is the least influential factor from those we listed at 13%.

While seasonality remains one of the top four factors influencing consumer purchase decisions, a growing trend in the import industry challenges this paradigm, making most fruits and vegetables available year-round.

Approximately two-thirds of US respondents (62%) say that this year-round availability is important to them and consumers share this opinion regardless of their income bracket.

However, the desire for year-round availability raises an important question: Are consumers willing to pay a premium for imported produce? 

Around a third of all respondents (34%) say they are willing to pay a higher price for imported produce. But nearly twice as many say they are unwilling to take on these additional costs.

Interestingly, even among those earning more than $80k a year, whereas a slightly higher percentage (39%) are willing to pay more, a significant majority (56%) still express an unwillingness.

While there is a strong desire for year-round access to favorite produce, the data indicates that price remains a non-negotiable factor for the majority of US consumers.

Explore our living data – for free

Discover more retail content here 

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today

Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on January 23-24, 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 1,126 adults in the United States (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education, social grade and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Image: Getty Image