Feb 23, 2023
Report shows organic sales gain, volume dip in 2022
Total organic produce sales increased in 2022, while volume dropped and the performance of the top 20 individual produce categories varied widely.
Those are the findings of the 72-page State of Organic Produce 2022 report released Feb. 22 by Organic Produce Network.
Organic produce sales increased by 3%, topping $9.4 billion, while volume decreased by 3.7% year over year, according to the report. Year-over-year sales in specific categories were affected by inflation and other various in a dynamic market.
Onions performed the best in 2022, with sales increasing year-over-year by 15.4%. Cucumber sales increased by 11.3% and potato sales by 10.7%. Lettuce saw the steepest decline, dropping by 3.1%, while celery fell 2.3% and bell peppers 2.1%.
Grape volumes were up 6.9%, while herbs and spices volume increased by 6.5% and cucumbers 2.7%. Lettuce volume as also the weakest, falling by 12.7%, while avocado volume dropped 11.4% and apple volume fell 10.3%.
Aphid pressure stemming from warmer desert temperatures in Q1 and Q2 affected lettuce, which also suffered a blow from impatiens necrotic spot virus in the Salinas Valley in the fall/early winter. Avocados had a lower-than-normal volume out of Mexico in the first half of the year, while a very small Washington crop impacted apple supply.
Grapes, along with fresh herbs and spices, saw increases in both sales and volume. Grapes also saw an 8.3% sales increase, while sales of herbs and spices increased by 4.1%.
Berries took the top spot in total retail sales with $1.561 billion in sales, edging out packaged salads at 1.556 billion. Bananas remained the top volume retail mover with nearly 509 million pounds sold.
Organic cucumbers commanded the highest price premium, selling for an average of 138% more per pound than conventional cucumbers. Celery had one of the lowest premiums at 22%, down from 32% in 2021. Bananas saw a premium price jump to 32% from 25% in 2021.
The report also noted varying category performance by region. Celery lost significant year-over-year volume in every region except the West, where it saw a gain a 26.7%. The report speculated that organic celery juicing is more popular there.
Fresh herbs and spices declined in volume in the Northeast by 9.4% but posted a 19.7% increase in the West, while onions enjoyed double-digit sales gains in all four regions.
Packaged salads also had similar results across all four regions, declining in volume by mid-single digits and increasing in sales by low single digits.