A recent report showed that organic sales didn’t decrease over the last three months as conventional produce did and experts expected.
There was a bit of a rollercoaster ride for supermarket sales that started when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March. In April, a spike in produce sales was solely attributed to pandemic safety restrictions and the immediate shutdown of the foodservice industry. Sales then dropped dramatically in mid-April but then rose again in May. Since then, there has been a slow and gradual reopening of restaurants, and experts believed there would be a corresponding drop in fresh produce sales.
A new report produced for the Organic Produce Network proves that theory to be both true and false. OPN and Category Partners, powered by Nielsen Total US Scan data, looked at supermarket numbers from Quarter two and three of this year and compared them to 2019. From April through June, Quarter Two showed an increase in both volume and sales for both Conventional and Organic produce over 2019. As the food industry began to open in quarter three, volume dropped in July through September for conventional produce from a 12.9% increase to an 8% increase. Sales were still above last year’s comparatively but not as high as quarter two’s increase.
The OPN report states that a drop didn’t happen with the organic sector. Data shows that organic sales and volume held at the same percentage of increase for Quarters two and three, compared to last year, ending quarter three with a 16% increase in dollars and a 15.8% increase in volume.
“Once again, sales of organic fresh produce show no signs of slowing and continue to be a major growth opportunity for retailers across the country. In the third quarter, organics drove twice the dollar share compared to volume share←12 percent of total produce dollars and 6 percent of total produce volume, underscoring why the growth of organics is so powerful and important to retailers,” said Matt Seeley, CEO of Organic Produce Network.
Listen to the radio report.