Organic produce sees growth in sales and volumes

Organic produce sees growth in sales and volumes

Organic produce saw significant growth throughout 2020, experiencing large increases in terms of both sales and volumes.

At the end of 2020, organic produce clocked in a more than 14 percent increase from the previous year, according to the 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report released by the Organic Produce Network and its partners.

Data from Nielsen also showed that organic fresh produce sales in 2020 reached over $8.5 billion which is up from 2019 by more than $1 billion. Overall organic volume, likewise rose in 2020, showing a 16 percent growth.

Both of these gains outpaced those of conventionally grown produce which only rose by nine percent for volume and just under 11 percent for sales. 

 The 14.2-percent increase in organic sales is being attributed to changes in consumer’s shopping habits that occurred as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

“In the face of restaurant restrictions and closures and elevated sales across the entire supermarket as consumers turned to at-home eating, organic fresh produce sales surged last year, with consumers looking for healthy, safe, and wholesome meal options for their families,” said Matt Seeley, CEO of the Organic Produce Network.

Of the top 10 organic sales and volume categories, nine saw double-digit growth, with the top three sales categories being packaged salads, berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries), and apples. The categories that displayed the largest year-over-year sales increases, on the other hand, were herbs and spices and potatoes.

One product that did see a decline were organic grapes, falling six percent in both sales and volume.

“The continued strength of organic fruit and vegetable sales through 2020 despite pandemic-related economic challenges underscores the depth of consumer demand for organic products,” said Steve Lutz, SVP of insights and innovation at Category Partners about growth.

In regards to the future, he added “Across all of 2020, organic sales growth continued to outpace conventional  [sales]. As we hopefully see the pandemic begin to subside into 2021, the market opportunities for fresh organic fruits and vegetables in the coming year remain outstanding. There are wide swaths of the US where organic fruits and vegetables have limited distribution and narrow assortment in many conventional supermarkets.”

According to Lutz, this suggests even more possibility of growth for various categories of organic produce.


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