Organic fresh produce sales experienced continued growth for the second quarter of 2021. The sales figures are detailed in a recent report from the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners. It marks a full year of growth for the organic sector, both in sales and in volume.
“Overall organic sales neared $2.3 billion for the quarter and that was up four percent from where we were last year,” said OPN Co-founder and President Matt Seeley. “So again, good steady growth. We’re going in a different direction than the conventional fresh produce, which in terms of both sales and volume movement, saw declines.”
The report shows that for the first time, the organic berry category took the top spot for sales topping $435 million for the quarter. Berries, which includes strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, edged out packaged salads for the top spot. Berry sales grew by 19 percent over last year, with volume increasing 16 percent. “As you talk to those involved in berry production there’s really no sign of this letting up. Berries are truly becoming rockstars if you will in the sales of organic fresh produce,” Seeley noted.
The past four quarterly reports from OPN detail consistent increases in sales and volume. The second quarter of 2020 showed an increase in volume of 18 percent, with sales increasing 17 percent to $1.7 billion. First-quarter numbers for 2021 marked an increase in organic fresh produce sales of nine percent to $2.2 billion. As the impact of COVID-19 on the food supply chain subsides, it presents an opportunity for continued growth for the organic sector.
“We’re seeing restaurants and foodservice establishments open back up and hopefully we’ll start to see more organic produce showing up in those outlets,” said Seeley. “That’s kind of the last frontier if you will for organic sales. If we can get organic fresh produce into the foodservice sector, we’ve got tremendous opportunities ahead of us.”