Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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U.S. organic produce volume fell 3.7%, but sales increased by 3% in 2022

According to the 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report, Organic Produce Network and Category Partners, organic fresh produce sales increased by 3% while volume fell by 3.7% in 2022.

The report stated that organic fresh produce sales reached $9.4 billion in the past year.

According to the report, organic fresh berry, which includes blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, was the most popular organic produce category. It held more than 16% organic fresh produce dollars by 2022. According to the report, fresh berry sales totaled $1.6 billion. Organic packaged salads came in second place at $1.55 Billion.

The year saw a 7.3% increase in fresh produce sales, but a 1.3% decrease in volume. The report stated that organic fresh produce accounted for 7% and 12% respectively of all fresh product sales.

In the release, Tom Barnes, president and CEO of Category Partners said that in an inflationary period like this, we expect to continue seeing the volume declines and growth of sales dollars for most organic and conventional fresh produce items. The average price per pound for conventional produce increased by 9.2%, while the organic price per pound increased by 7%. As organic products become more expensive, consumers may be more selective in organic shopping.

The report stated that organic apples represented the most extreme example of substitution, with their price per pound increasing by more than twice the amount of traditional apples. This resulted in a volume decrease of 10.3%.

In 2022, thirteen of the 20 most popular organic produce categories by total sales saw increases in dollars. Organic onions generated the greatest increase (15.4%), followed closely by cucumbers and potatoes, and avocados. Green beans saw the biggest drop in dollars, with a 5% decrease. Bell peppers and lettuce also experienced significant declines in dollars.

14 of the 20 top organic produce categories saw a decline in volume and only 10 showed positive dollar growth. Despite a 1.2% decline in volume in 2022, organic bananas remained the largest volume mover. According to the report, organic bananas saw a 3.9% rise in sales compared with the previous year.

Note that potatoes and cabbage, which are often regarded as inflation-busters, saw a 10% increase of dollar sales and a nominal 11% volume growth. Organic grapes enjoyed a record year, with a 6.9% volume increase and 8.3% sales increase.

The report showed that organic performance in 2022 was uniform across all regions of the country — volume decreased and dollars grew.

The Northeast experienced the lowest dollar growth, and the highest volume decline. Meanwhile, the South continues to experience the greatest year-over-year improvement.

The average price of organic fresh produce was significantly higher than that of conventional. 2022 saw the gap between organic and conventional prices at $1.55 per kilogram.

Barnes stated in the release that organic producers must understand how pricing affects behavior of different consumer segments. This will allow them to reach consumers who are most likely to benefit from the health and value associated with organics.

With a modest 1.4% increase in organic sales from last year, the fourth quarter of 2022 was the 12th consecutive quarter with organic sales growth. According to the report, organic produce sales in the fourth quarter reached $2.1 billion. The grape category led the way in volume and year-over-year growth.

The 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report was based on Nielsen retail scan data that covered total food sales in the U.S. between January and December 2022. According to the release, a complete version of this report including information about the top 20 organic fresh fruit categories will be available on the Organic Produce Network Website in February.

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