Watermelon Trends Research Graphic

The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) conducts menu trend research to understand the opportunity watermelon has in foodservice and to benchmark watermelon’s presence year-over-year. In 2017, the NWPB invested in Datassential MenuTrends Research. This database includes menus from more than 7,000 commercial restaurants including independents, regional chains, and national chains in all restaurant segments. The analysis looks at 2016 compared to previous years. Please note, this research includes all mentions of watermelon, not just fresh usage.

Research Highlights

  • Watermelon is featured on one in ten menus and has grown by 27% in the past four years.
  • Watermelon penetration on U.S. menus is 11%, up from 8.4% in 2015.
  • Watermelon ranks 24th among most popular fruits and 20th among fastest four-year growth.
  • In the Menu Adoption Cycle (Inception, Adoption, Proliferation and Ubiquity), Watermelon falls in Proliferation having progressed from Adoption in 2015.
  • Watermelon is found more often on casual and fine dining menus.
  • Watermelon is most often found on all day menus and has seen the largest growth on dinner menus.
  • With the exception of side items, watermelon is expanding across the menu with appetizers experiencing the most rapid growth.
  • All regions of the U.S. are experiencing increased use of watermelon.
  • Watermelon is on 3% of appetizer, entrée, and side dish menus and growing - triple digit growth in casual and fine dining restaurants.
    • Although small penetration (1%), watermelon is one of the fastest growing fruits featured on salads (more than 100% 4-year growth).
    • Proteins most commonly menued with watermelon are chicken and pork.
  • Despite being featured on only 1% of all dessert menus, watermelon is among one of the fastest growing dessert fruits (34% 4-year growth).
  • Watermelon is one of the fastest growing fruit flavors in non-alcoholic beverages. (29% 4-year growth).
  • Watermelon alcoholic beverages are found on 8% of all restaurant menus and are most often found at casual dining restaurants.

Consumer Research

  • 82% of consumers surveyed like the taste of watermelon.
  • “Tastes good/I like to eat it” is still the top purchase driver for consumers at retail.
  • 60% say they are aware of “any health benefits that watermelon provides.”
    • 87% replied Yes to “Does/Would knowing that watermelon is healthy and nutritious make you more likely to purchase it in the future?”
    • Knowing “watermelon is good for hydration” makes 85% of people want to purchase more.
  • Foodservice offers an alternative place to eat watermelon for those who think it is “too big/inconvenient” (18%), “can’t guarantee quality” (14%) and “too messy” (13%).
  • More than a third (37%) have eaten watermelon in a restaurant; the majority of the time either on a buffet (56%) or in a fruit salad (49%).
  • “Tastes good” (29%) and “Price” (21%) were the leading influencers when ordering at a restaurant.
  • Consumers expressed increased interest in watermelon as a part of buffets and fruit salads but also vegetable salads, smoothies, cocktails, entrees and desserts.

Consumer Research Graphic

Supply Chain Research

  • Watermelon volume has grown 26% in the last 10 years, with volume from October to March growing 49%.
  • Whole seedless watermelon 5-year average terminal market price is $0.26 per pound, April to September and $0.31 per pound, October to March, making it an affordable option for menus year-round.
  • Watermelon’s popularity is demonstrated as volume has grown during the fall and winter months and prices remained stable over the last five years.
Annual  Watermelon  Movement,  2008-17
Weekly  Average  $/Lb,  by  Type,  at  Terminal  Market,  2013-17

For more information or to request the full report, please email mmckenna@watermelon.org.

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Representing 1,500 watermelon growers, shippers and importers nationwide, our goal is to promote the nutritional, culinary and convenience benefits of watermelon.


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