Organic Produce Sales Over $9 Billion For First Time in 2021

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Organic

Sales of organic produce saw steady increases in 2021, finishing the year with more than $9 billion in value for the first time. According to the 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report, organic value grew by 5.5 percent over 2020 figures. The report was compiled by the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners using Nielsen retail scan data. Organic fresh produce outperformed growth levels for conventional produce in both sales and volume.

Compared to 2020, organic fresh produce sales increased by $477 million last year to a total of $9.2 billion. Overall organic volume also grew by two percent from the year prior. Conventional produce volume was down by more than three percent, despite the return of many foodservice channels that had been closed at the beginning of COVID in 2020.

organic produce

“It is very apparent that consumer supermarket food purchases the past year reflected more traditional buying trends as compared to the COVID-inspired purchasing changes we saw in 2020,” OPN CEO Matt Seeley said in a press release. “At the same time, we saw many organic fresh produce categories continue to show solid growth as part of the longer-term trend of consumers moving to organic produce and, in turn, growing organic’s share of market.”

Packaged salads remained the leader in sales for the organic sector, with sales of more than $1.5 billion in 2021. The fresh organic berry category that incorporates strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, was also a leading performer for the organic sector. Organic berry sales grew 14 percent while also demonstrating a 10 percent increase in volume. Packaged salads and berries were also among the products with the highest organic price premiums.

“While a gap remains in the average retail price per pound between organic and conventional, the price increases in both categories last year were remarkably similar,” said Steve Lutz, Senior Vice President of Insights and Innovation at Category Partners. “Sales of organic produce in 2021, while up a bit less than expected, remain on par with the historical long-term growth trends we have come to expect for organic produce.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West