Jan 26, 2023
Organic fresh produce sales grow 3% in 2022, OPN report finds
Organic fresh produce sales grew by 3% in 2022 despite declining volume, with total sales topping $9.4 billion, according to a new report.
The 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report found that volume declined by 3.7%, with 14 of the top 20 organic produce sales categories seeing dips.
The report was released Wednesday by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners.
The organic fresh berry category, which includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, held an industry-best 16% of organic fresh produce dollars in 2022. Fresh berry sales topped $1.6 billion for the year, with organic packaged salads accounting for $1.55 billion.
Total fresh produce sales gained 7.3% in dollars for the year but experienced a 1.3% drop in volume. Organic fresh produce made up 12% of all fresh produce sales and accounted for 7% 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,” Tom Barnes, president of Category Partners, said in a news release. “The average conventional price per pound grew by 9.2% compared to 2021, while organic produce price per pound rose by 7%. 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%.
For 2022, 13 of the top 20 organic produce categories (by total sales) posted increases in dollars, with organic onions generating the largest increase at 15.4%. That was followed by cucumbers, potatoes, and avocados.
Green beans posted the largest drop in dollars with a 5% decline, with lettuce and bell peppers also posting noticeable declines for the year.
Organic bananas continued to be the biggest volume mover despite a 1.2% percent volume decline in 2022, showing a 3.9% increase in sales.
Potatoes and cabbage showed a 10% increase in dollar sales and a 1% growth in volume. Organic grapes notched a 6.9% increase in volume and an 8.3% increase in sales.
All regions of the country saw dollars grow and volume decline, with the Northeast showing the lowest dollar growth and highest volume decline. The South continued to show the most year-over-year improvement.
The report also found the price gap between conventional and organics at the largest it has been in the past four years at $1.55 per pound.
The fourth quarter of 2022 saw the 12th consecutive quarter of organic sales growth, with a 1.4% increase from the same period last year.