Inflation hits organic fresh produce in Q3

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Inflation hits organic fresh produce in Q3

The continuing surge in prices generated a 4% increase in fresh produce total dollar sales in Q3 2022, according to a report released by Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners. However, volumes declined by almost 5% year-on-year.

Higher retail values for the third quarter of 2022 are largely due to inflation, the report notes. Overall, organic fresh produce pricing per pound increased by 9% compared to the same period last year. As a result, sales for the quarter totaled $2 billion.

“Comparing the third quarter of this year to third quarters of the past three years shows organic volume declining and more than 3% higher than the decline in conventional produce volume for Q3 of 2022,” said Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. 

In Q3 2022, the average price gap between conventional and organics is “the largest it has been in the last four years”, the executive said.

Conventional produce's average price per pound increased by more than 10%, with total sales nearing $18 billion. Sales gained 8% in dollars for the third quarter of 2022, while volume declined by 2%. The average price per pound increased by 21 cents compared to Q3 of 2021.

“Conventional produce outperformed organic produce in dollar growth, suggesting price increases in conventional produce have been more easily absorbed by consumers than the higher prices in organics,” said Barnes.

The organic tomato category saw a 19% increase in volume and a 30% growth in dollar sales, according to the report, and is one of the season’s high points. Berries and packaged salads continue to be the top two organic produce categories, accounting for nearly 40% of overall produce dollars.

The full Q3 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report is available here.

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