Organic Fresh Produce Sales Top $1 Billion in Q3; Organic Produce Network's Matt Seeley and Nielsen Fresh's Matt Lally Comment

Organic Fresh Produce Sales Top $1 Billion in Q3; Organic Produce Network's Matt Seeley and Nielsen Fresh's Matt Lally Comment

SALINAS, CA - The numbers for Q3 2017 are in, and the word is organics are growing in a big way. In partnership with Nielsen, the Organic Produce Network (OPN) has shared news that organic fresh produce sales reached $1.16 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an eight percent increase in dollars and 10 percent rise in volume from 2016’s numbers.

Matt Seeley, CEO, Organic Produce Network“As the demand for convenient, fresh organic options increases, availability should follow suit,” said Matt Seeley, OPN’s CEO. “We expect, once this happens, to see pricing stabilize, which will further fuel the consumer’s interest in all things organic.”

Organic Produce

Delving into organic fresh produce sales at retail stores across the country, Nielsen and OPN found that dollar sales of organic fresh vegetables reached $576 million, while organic fresh fruit sales hit $408 million. That remaining $173 million in organic fresh sales account for “other produce items,” including organic herbs and seasonings, beverages, and dressings. In total, organic fresh fruits and vegetables represented 10.2 percent of all produce dollars for the third quarter. Compared to a year ago, sales of organic fruit were up 8.3 percent, while sales of organic vegetables rose 6.2 percent, according to a press release.

Matt Lally, Client Manager, Nielsen Fresh“The dollar gains we are seeing across the board can be directly attributed to the growing demand for transparent products across the store,” says Matt Lally, Client Manager for Nielsen Fresh. “Beyond this, the increasing availability and supply are also positively impacting sales.”

As reported by OPN and Nielsen, the following are some highlights from the Q3 data:

  • Organic packaged salad category held the #1 slot in terms of dollar share at 19.5 percent, holding a value of $226 million
  • The $151 million-dollar organic berry category, including strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, were in 2nd, representing 13.1 percent of organic produce sales in Q3, with 11.5 percent increase in dollars and a 9.4 percent jump in volume compared to a year ago
  • The $71 million-dollars fresh organic herbs/spices/seasonings category, accounting for 6.2 percent of total organic dollars, was up 17 percent in dollars and 18 percent in volume vs. a year ago
  • The $56 million-dollar organic banana category saw an 18 percent dollar growth compared to a year ago, making it the 2nd largest fruit segment
  • The $22.3 million-dollar stone fruit category was down 3.5 percent in dollars and nearly 14 percent in volume compared to a year ago
  • Organic peaches were 62 percent more expensive than conventional peaches in the third quarter
  • The grape category, the 3rd largest fruit category at $54.8 million, saw a 3.1 percent increase in dollars and a 3.2 percent decrease in volume compared to a year ago
  • The $45 million-dollar organic value-added fresh produce category saw a 2.8 percent increase in dollars for Q3 and a 2.2 percent gain in volume
  • The value-added organic vegetable segment, at $41 million, showed organic carrots, French/green beans, and cooking greens as three most popular segments
  • With $4 million in sales, value-added fruit–led by apples, mixed fruit and cantaloupe–was up 11.4 percent in dollars and 9.6 percent in volume during Q3

Organic Lettuces

“Successful retailers are using organic produce as a point of differentiation,” added Lally, noting the most successful retailers are able to generate some 16 percent of produce dollars from organic varieties. Lally said one of the biggest keys for organic success is the price relative to the conventional item. “Historically, organic categories with more than a 50 percent premium over conventional produce pricing have struggled to achieve the same success.”

Are you interested in even more insights about the ever-growing organic sector and we head into the end of 2017? Visit the OPN’s website at

Organic Produce Network

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