Organic Produce Network Details Growth of Organic Fresh Produce Retail Sales
MONTEREY, CA - According to the 2019 Organic Produce Performance Report, released exclusively by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners, the future is looking bright for organics. In fact, retail sales of organic fruits and vegetables grew by more than five percent in 2019—more than double the two percent growth for conventional produce. At the same time, the report also indicated that organic fresh fruit and vegetable volume increased by 4.6 percent, compared to growth of less than one percent for conventional produce.
“Organic growth in retail produce departments continues to be strong,” said Matt Seeley, CEO of the Organic Produce Network. “Last year, sales of organic fruits and vegetables established a new record, hitting $5.8 billion in retail sales. The rate of growth has slowed slightly from previous years, but there is every reason to believe that the growth of organic fruits and vegetables will continue to outpace conventional products. One finding that jumped out is the increase in organic produce in the Northeast region of the U.S. The Northeast is the second strongest overall region for organics, and in 2019 had dollar and volume increases of over six percent. Coventional produce in the Northeast region was flat in volume and conventional sales dollars increased by less than one percent. In every region of the U.S., it’s organic produce that is driving dollar increases for retailers.”
The 2019 Organic Produce Performance Report utilized Nielsen retail scan data covering total food sales and outlets in the United States. Key takeaways from the report included top organic dollar performers, which were packaged salads and berries. Packaged salads drove nearly 20 percent of total retail organic sales. The combined berry category (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry) added an additional 15 percent of total volume. Each of these berry categories had total dollar growth of more than 10 percent in 2019.
“What we see in the Nielsen data is that organic produce at retail is concentrated within fewer categories than conventional produce,“ added Steve Lutz, Senior Vice President of Insights and Innovation, Category Partners. “The top 10 organic categories in produce drive nearly 70 percent of volume. These same categories contribute only 53 percent to total volume in conventional.”
Lutz also noted the new study shows the top three organic categories (bananas, carrots, and apples) drive 41 percent of total organic volume.
“Like the volume totals, in dollar performance we also see a concentration of sales around a narrower group of top categories,” said Lutz. “The top 10 organic categories drive 61 percent of total dollars versus only 38 percent in conventional.”
Seeley concluded, adding that, “It’s clear that capturing future growth will require that the mix of organic volume be spread across a broader base of products. There is likely a combination of factors causing organic consumers to buy the conventionally-grown versions of many fruits and vegetables that are regularly purchased. As supermarkets increase organic assortment, expand shelf sets, and improve the visibility of organics at retail level, we believe the data shows consumer purchases will follow.”
As AndNowUKnow continues to chart the organic waters, keep checking back in for the latest.