Pre-packed Fresh Salad Propelling Growth For Australian Supermarkets

CPG, FMCG & Retail | 30-04-2018

Over the past 12 months, fresh salad sales in Australia have soared compared with the previous year, up 10.6% in dollar sales. Examples of fresh salad include serving size lettuce bags and pre-made salad mixes. While fresh salad has many nutritional benefits, this is not the sole factor driving category growth. When asked for the major reasons Australian shoppers purchase fresh salad, 73% said ‘convenience’ and 72% said ‘easy-to-use’ were the triggers driving their purchases.

Growth in fresh salad is outpacing many other similar categories. In the past 12 months, relatively flat growth was seen across the total vegetable category (0.7%), total fresh produce (1.6%) and total grocery (1.7%) in Australia. 

Looking closely at the different packaging formats Australian major supermarkets have to offer within fresh salad, growth is seen in packaged salad rather than loose leaf salad. Over the past 12 months, packaged salad made up 91% of major supermarket fresh salad share and grew 16.2% in dollar sales, while loose leaf salad declined.

Surprisingly, in contrast to fresh salad, head lettuce growth is relatively flat at 0.5%. Head lettuce and fresh salad have some differences in buyer base, with high income households as well as younger shoppers (primary shopper age <54 years) representing a larger share of fresh salad sales versus head lettuce. While 88.1% of fresh salad dollar sales are through major supermarkets (Coles, Woolworths and ALDI), this is only 70.7% for head lettuce. However, while greengrocers and markets have 15.4% dollar share of total vegetable sales, they over trade in head lettuce, making up 18.7% of dollar sales.

Retailer opportunity

Further innovation in packaged salad is an opportunity for retailers with ready-to-eat varieties such as salad bowls and salad kits also driving category growth. Compared to the prior year, ready-to-eat varieties have grown 21.7% in dollar sales in major supermarkets. As consumers change where they spend their food dollars—with more being spent away from home—retailers who can provide consumers with a variety of prepared foods will help ensure dollars stay in the grocery store.

96% of major supermarket shoppers who purchase fresh salad, do so at a major supermarket. In contrast, other small supermarkets only convert 4 in every 10 shoppers on average. This is not surprising considering that major supermarkets have 88.1% dollar sales share of trade of fresh salad and are the only retail channel in growth.

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the vegetable, onion and sweet potato research and development levies, and contributions form the Australian Government.  Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.


The insights in this article were derived from the following sources:

  • Nielsen Homescan, MAT to  24/02/2018
  • Attitudinal reports prepared by Nielsen for Hort Innovation, survey sample n=300, fieldwork from 04/12/2017 to 11/12/2017 for the Australian market. Copyright © 2017 Horticulture Innovation Australia.​


Get the Nielsen Newswire Newsletter

By clicking on Subscribe, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.