Aug 2, 2023
Second quarter organic produce sales grow slightly

Organic fresh produce grew slightly in sales dollars and volume in the second quarter of 2023, reversing a trend of volume loss seen in 2021 and 2022, according to the Q2 2023 Organic Produce Performance Report from Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners.

Overall, organic fresh produce dollar sales increased by 1.5% for the second quarter compared to the same period last year, with sales for the quarter topping $2.4 billion. Volume movement nudged up slightly less than 1%, reversing a downward volume trend that started in 2021.

Conventional produce dollar sales grew by 2% in the same period, while volume declined by 1.3%, as total sales topped $18.8 billion. 

As conventional produce outperformed organic produce in dollar growth, it appears price increases on conventional produce are being more easily absorbed by consumers than the higher prices in organics, according to the OPN/Category Partners report.

Courtesy of OPN/Category Partners.

“The rate of organic sales growth — while still positive — slowed compared to past years, giving volume a chance to match that growth,” Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners, said in a news release. “This suggests that inflation, while still evident, is not as apparent in organic produce as it was in conventional produce this past quarter.”

In the second quarter of this year, 11 of the top 20 organic fresh produce categories posted increases in dollar sales compared to the same period last year. Organic citrus posted the largest percentage increase, up 19.4%, followed by bell peppers, mushrooms and cucumbers. At the same time, grapes and avocados posted double-digit declines for the quarter.

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) and packaged salads continued to be the two dominant organic fresh produce categories, combining to top $850 million for the quarter. Berry sales showed a 3.3% increase from the same time last year, topping $454 million in sales, while the packaged salad category was flat at $396 million in sales.

Berries and packaged salads lead the organic produce department in sales. Graphic courtesy of OPN/Category Partners.

Noticeable volume gains for the quarter were seen in 12 of the top 20 categories, including double-digit gains with onions, citrus and avocados. Organic celery posted the largest decline in volume (down 23%), followed by grapes and potatoes.

Geographically, organic performance was a mixed bag, with the West and Northeast regions seeing increases in dollar sales and declines in volume.

The Q2 2023 Organic Produce Performance Report covers total food sales in the U.S., at all retail outlets (supermarkets, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores, convenience stores, and military commissaries) from April 4 to July 1 compared to the same period last year. The full report is available on the Organic Produce Network website.

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