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Sales of green vegetables and soft fruits soar as consumers get the blending and juicing bug

Tuesday March 1st 2016

New figures have shown a steep rise in the purchase of avocados, spinach and soft fruits as more shoppers look to follow healthy eating regimes.

The IRI Retail Advantage figures, which identify the top growth food sub categories at supermarkets in the 52 weeks to 2 January, also suggest that more people are purchasing blenders and juicers from their supermarket, with sales up 49% over the past year.

According to IRI, sales of avocados rose by 31% last year while demand for spinach rose by 21% and greens by 12%. As the craze for blending and juicing continues to grip the country, soft fruit sales also increased by 12%, topping £1 billion in sales last year and adding an extra £115 million to the economy over the year before.

Martin Wood, head of strategic insight - retail solutions & innovation at IRI, explained: “It’s clear that certain categories are receiving a boost from shoppers’ changing attitudes towards ‘free-from’, natural products and food authenticity, and an increased awareness of the health benefits of certain foods and ingredients. Typically we expect these figures at the start of the year when people adopt more healthy eating habits, but it’s interesting that our data shows growth trends across the whole year."

Other categories such as fizzy drinks, fruit juices and dilute to taste products were found to be losing ground. In contrast, value sales of bottled waters increased, with the category seeing nearly a 10% rise last year to £670 million.

Wood added: "At a time when obesity rates are at their highest in the UK, it’s encouraging to see this, possibly as a result of pressure on the government to levy a sugar tax on food and drink and the influence of celebrities like Ella Woodward. Based on our data, it’s clear that retailers are already supporting this healthy agenda, but they do need to ensure they maintain it with the right price & promotion and marketing strategies."