Jun 3, 2024
Organic produce sales reveals changes

The Organic Produce Network (OPN) has released data on organic produce sales for the previous year.

Topping $9.6 billion, organic produce sales in the U.S. grew by 1.6% in 2023, while volume declined 0.1%, according to the State of Organic Produce 2023 report.


OPN conventional chart


The report produced by OPN with data analysis by Category Partners showed conventional produce sharing a similar trend, with a year-over-year sales increase of 1.9% and nearly flat volume growth of 0.1%, according to a news release.

Repeating its percentage shares of the prior two years, organic produce made up 12% of all retail produce sales in 2023 and accounted for 7% of total produce volume, according to the release.

The 68-page State of Organic Produce 2023 report provides an overall view of organic produce retail performance in 2023 as well as specific insights into the top 20 organic produce categories.

By total sales, berries held the top organic produce spot for the second year in a row in 2023, raking in $1.6 billion. Packaged salads followed close behind, with sales of $1.51 billion, and apples took a distant third with sales of $660 million.


OPN regional chart



The banana category continued to be the top-volume mover of the organic fresh produce sector in 2023, with 538 million pounds sold, and berries eclipsed carrots to narrowly take second place with a volume of 251 million pounds.

All four U.S. regions showed year-over-year sales gains in 2023, and the South was the top performer for the third year in a row, with an increase of 3.4%. Volume performance was a mixed bag, with the South and the Midwest logging small increases and the West and the Northeast posting losses.

Organic Produce Network OPN

As was the case in 2022, year-over-year sales performance among individual organic produce categories in 2023 varied quite widely: broccoli (7.5%), citrus (7.1%), and berries (6%) showed the best growth, while avocados (−6.6%), kale (−5.9%), and packaged salads (−3%) were the worst performers.

Regarding sales by volume, year-over-year organic produce performance also ranged widely. Citrus had a standout year with a volume increase of 18.2%. Cucumbers (8.6%) and broccoli (6.3%) also performed well. The widest year-over-year loss was found in celery (−16.6%), which was at least in part due to wet and cold weather in California. The next-worst volume performers in 2023 were grapes (−10.4%) and bell peppers (−7%).

State of Organic Produce 2023

As is well-known, organic produce generally commands a price premium over conventional. However, when it comes to individual produce items, these premiums span a wide range. In 2023, the best price premium by far was found in organic fresh herbs and spices, which sold for a whopping 306% more on average than their conventional counterparts. Other top performers included lettuce (119%), tomatoes (103%), and potatoes (92%).

The narrowest price premiums over conventional in 2023 were found in carrots (24%), citrus (25%), and bananas (30%). These three items represent an excellent opportunity to market to budget-minded organic consumers as well as those who generally buy conventional but are curious about organics, according to the release.

Organic onions were another item that demonstrated interesting year-over-year regional performance. Both sales and volume decreased significantly in the Midwest, with respective losses of 6.5% and 13.2%, while both measures increased substantially in the Northeast, with respective gains of 8.2% and 6.9%.

Organic bell peppers took a big volume plunge in the West, declining by 18.1%, yet they showed solid volume increases in both the Northeast (6.6%) and the South (8.1%), and all four regions saw single-digit sales gains in the category. In keeping with the trend of the overall organic produce sector, organic bell peppers had their largest sales increase in the South (8.1%).

Read more of the report here.

Tags: ,

Be sure to check out our other specialty agriculture brands