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Berries are top organic category

2022 US organic produce sales down in volume, up in sales

Organic fresh produce sales grew by 3 percent in 2022, while volume declined by –3.7 percent, as total sales topped $9.4 billion for the year, according to the 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report released by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners.

The organic fresh berry category was the top organic produce category, holding more than 16 percent of organic fresh produce dollars in 2022. Overall fresh berry sales topped 1.6 billion for the year, with organic packaged salads a close second at $1.55 billion.

Total fresh produce sales gained 7.3 percent in dollars for the year but experienced a –1.3 percent decline in volume. Organic fresh produce made up 12 percent of all fresh produce sales and accounted for 7 percent of all fresh produce volume.

“In an inflationary time like this, we expect to see the growth of sales dollars and volume declines repeated for the majority of organic and conventional fresh produce items,” said Tom Barnes, President of Category Partners. “The average conventional price per pound grew by 9.2 percent compared to 2021 while organic produce price per pound rose by 7 percent. With rising prices, we may see more selective organic shopping from consumers as they substitute higher-priced organic items for conventional ones.”

Organic apples were the largest example of substitution as their price per pound increased by more than double the amount of conventional, resulting in a volume decline of –10.3 percent.

Top organic produce categories by dollar sales and volume.

Sales changes
For 2022, 13 of the top 20 organic produce categories (by total sales) posted increases in dollars, with organic onions generating the largest increase (15.4 percent), followed by cucumbers, potatoes, and avocados. Conversely, green beans posted the largest drop in dollars (–5 percent), and lettuce and bell peppers also posted noticeable declines in dollars for the year.

Volume changes
Additionally, 14 of the top 20 organic produce sales categories posted declines in volume, with only 10 of those categories showing positive dollar growth. Organic bananas continued to be the biggest volume mover despite a –1.2 percent volume decline in 2022 and showed a modest 3.9 percent increase in sales from the previous year.

Of note, potatoes and cabbage, typically regarded as inflation busters, showed a 10 percent increase in dollar sales and a nominal 1 percent growth in volume. Organic grapes had a stellar year, with a 6.9 percent increase in volume and an 8.3 percent increase in sales.

Price gap between organic and conventional
Organic fresh produce prices in aggregate remained substantially higher than conventional, with 2022 showing the price gap between conventional and organics the largest it has been in the past four years at $1.55 per pound. “In an inflationary time period, it is important for organic producers to understand how their pricing impacts behavior among various consumer segments and to reach those consumers with the health and value benefits associated with organics,” said Barnes.

For more information:
Matt Seeley
Organic Produce Network
Tel: 831-884-5058

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