The top-selling fruit and veg of 2021

25th June 2021 | Eativity editors

Produce Plus and NielsenIQ have released their Top 20 for 2021, which rates Australia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable products. Did your favourite fresh food make the cut?

The Produce Plus-NielsenIQ Top 20 identifies the fruit and vegetable products most purchased by Australian households for take-home consumption. The products are ranked by their share of total take-home fresh fruit and vegetable dollar sales using NielsenIQ’s Homescan consumer panel for the 52 weeks ending April 18, 2021.

Sweet potatoes and pumpkin have dropped out from the 2020 list, replaced by oranges and herbs. At the top end of the rankings, the tussle between tomatoes and bananas continues. Tomatoes, number one in the 2018 Top 20, have returned to the top spot after two years at number two. Bananas, the top performer in 2019 and 2020, slid into second.

“No matter the season or price, a high percentage of Australian households are willing to pay for tomatoes and bananas, positioning these products at the centre of the ‘dollar share sweet spot’,” says Matthew Jones, Editor of Produce Plus, the magazine for fresh fruit and vegetable marketing in Australia and New Zealand.

The top 20 fruit and veg for 2021

1. Tomatoes

While tomatoes saw average retail prices increase, they maintained the highest percentage of buying households in the Top 20, accounting for a 7% share of fruit and vegetable sales.

2. Bananas

Bananas fell from the top spot in the 2020 rankings to second in 2021. They represented a 6.7% share of fruit and veg sales, with households buying more bananas more often.

3. Fresh salad

Maintaining third position for the second year in a row, fresh salads continued to appeal to convenience-seeking consumers looking to add healthy options to home-cooked meals.

4. Apples

Apples retained fourth position, increasing their share of fruit and vegetable sales to 5.4% through higher average retail prices even as volume sales fell compared to 2020.

5. Potatoes

Potatoes retained their position in the top five, helped by an increase in home-cooked meals through lockdowns, long shelf-life relative to other produce and versatility.

6. Avocados

The impacts of a reduced seasonal workforce and flooding in key production areas saw an increase in avocado prices, which led to a drop in the number of Aussies buying avocados.

7. Strawberries

While a similar number of households bought strawberries compared to the year prior, they bought them more frequently, also increasing the amount of strawberries per purchase.

8. Mushrooms

Mushrooms dollar sales grew by 8.1% from 2020 thanks to a combination of higher average prices and households putting more mushrooms in their shopping baskets per purchase.

9. Grapes

Grapes saw strong growth in volume, with consumers adding more of the fruit to their basket per purchase, while also slightly increasing the frequency of purchases.

10. Blueberries

Blueberries climbed the rankings to 10th in 2021. Lower average prices and good supply led to strong growth in sales, with an additional 2% of Australian households buying the berry.

11. Cucumbers

Despite dropping one spot, the number of households buying cucumbers stayed the same as 2020. As people stayed at home more, cucumbers provided a healthy snack choice.

12. Broccoli/broccolini

As prices fell 13.8% compared to 2020, dollar sales were also down but volume taken home grew by 10.2%. Despite the decline in dollar sales, broccoli was able to maintain position 12.

13. Capsicum

Australians continued to increase their overall consumption of capsicum, although the number of buying households remained consistent with the year prior (77% of homes).

14. Onions

After gaining popularity during the various lockdowns, onions maintained their prevalence among Aussie shoppers, remaining a key ingredient for many cook-at-home recipes.

15. Lettuce

Lettuce saw an increase in buying households, with 82% of Australian homes purchasing it over the past year. A decline in price resulted in a small increase in buying frequency.

16. Carrots

Carrots remain a staple, with the second largest household reach in the Top 20 (93%). Despite a small decline in buying frequency, consumers bought more per shopping trip.

17. Melons

Melons saw a significant decline in sales volumes this past year, but the category recorded the largest increase in average price across all of the 2021 Top 20 products.

18. Mandarins

Despite witnessing the second largest average price increase across the 2021 Top 20, mandarins maintained their place as the leading citrus fruit in the rankings.

19. Oranges

While oranges had a large average retail price increase this year, their competitive relative pricing within the citrus category allowed them to re-enter the Top 20 at number 19.

20. Herbs

Herbs re-entered the Top 20 in 2021, as consumers sought to add flavour to home-cooked meals. The category recorded the largest increase in sales volume among the 2021 Top 20.

For full Produce Plus-NielsenIQ Top 20 analysis of the performance of fresh fruit and veg in the Australian market, download the free Produce Plus app for iOS or Android.