This category includes establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are frequently found in public or municipal markets or as roadside stands. Establishments that grow fruits and vegetables and sell them at roadside stands, however, are classified in a range of agricultural crop production areas.
445230 (Fruit and Vegetable Markets)
In 2001, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a total of 3,382 establishments engaged in the retail sale of fresh
fruits and vegetables. There were 20,615 employees and a payroll of $374,488. The employee figure climbed to 32,786 in 2003. The total sales were approximately $2.4 billion. States operating the largest number of establishments were California with 813, New York with 850, and Florida with 613. Combined, they accounted for more than 35 percent of the market.
The largest segment was fruit and vegetable markets with more than 77.8 percent of the market. They numbered 5,025 establishments and employed 22,517 workers. The fruit stands or markets numbered 1,066 establishments. They accounted for 16.5 percent of the market and employed 8,552 workers. The vegetable stands or markets consisted of about 371 establishments, and employed some 1,717 workers
The retail fresh fruit and vegetable market industry, like other retail food markets, experienced declining sales throughout the early to mid-1990s, largely due to competition from supermarkets, superstores, wholesale clubs, and discount stores. An additional competitor was the newly classified "G" stores. Operated by large gasoline companies, they offered a mix of items including fresh fruit and vegetables. The total number of establishments in this industry fell from 8,265 in 1997 to 6,462 in 2003.
According to D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions, almost 80 percent of fresh fruit and vegetable markets (a total of 5,132) were small, employing less than four persons, while 641 establishments employed between five and nine people. At the other end of the scale, only 23 outlets employed more than 100 people.
In 2003 the majority of fruit and vegetable markets had sales in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. There were roughly 814 markets reporting sales under $100,000; 23,360 markets with sales between $100,000 and $249,000; 5,063 with sales between $250,000 and $499,000; 4,902 with sales between $500,000 and $999,000; and 290 markets with sales of more than $1 million.
Leading companies in this industry are Fresh America, Corp., based in Houston, Texas; and Norman Brothers Produce, based in Miami, Florida.