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News and insight for North America's fresh produce buyers
Gill McShane

BY GILL McSHANE

US watermelon sales holding steady

Mini watermelons accounted for the category's largest growth in sales during the 52 weeks ended 29 March 2009

US watermelon sales holding steady

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Total watermelon sales per pound in the US were up 1.61 per cent for the period 30 March 2008 to 29 March 2009, against the previous 52-week period, according to figures from the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB).
 
Personal-size watermelons showed the largest percentage increase, with sales rising roughly 9.5 per cent, the NWPB said, taking their market share to around 12 per cent, with the per-pound-price falling by a nickel to US$0.93/lb.   
 
The whole watermelon category also showed positive growth, with sales up by around 1.5 per cent during the 2008/09 period. Market share now sits at approximately 63 per cent. Per-pound-pricing also increased slightly, going from US$0.60 to US$0.63 in the most recent term.  

Lastly, fresh-cut watermelon sales saw a small decline, dropping roughly 1.5 per cent. Market share remains strong at about a quarter of the market. Some of the sales decrease may be attributed to the US$0.05 hike in price to US$1.15.   
 
“Looking at the regional pricing can be a great way to indirectly look at supply and demand,” the NWPB explained. “For example, California had a significant drop in price for both the cut and mini categories.”
 
On the whole, prices rose slightly from US$0.45/lb to US$0.47/lb. California featured the least expensive whole watermelons (at US$0.47), but did have the most expensive fresh-cut offer (US$1.83) by a wide margin.   
 
Conversely, the Great Lakes region had the most expensive whole watermelon per pound price (at US$0.84). The region saw US$0.07 and US$0.08 increases to the whole and fresh-cut categories, respectively. Mini prices fell by a nickel.

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