Monterey, CA—Total organic fresh produce saw double digit growth in the third quarter of 2020 in both sales and volume, according to the Q3 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report. Released by the Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners, the report found that sales increased 16% and volume increased 15% compared to the same period in 2019.
Sales of organic fresh produce sales topped $2.2 billion for the quarter, accounting for 12% of all produce sales, compared to a dollar share of 9.8% in the second quarter of this year. A press release on the topic attributes this to consumers eating at home instead of at restaurants. This 16% growth is well above the 10% dollar growth for conventional produce.
In terms of volume, too, organic increased by 15.6%, compared to 8.2% growth in conventional.
“Once again, sales of organic fresh produce show no signs of slowing and continue to be a major growth opportunity for retailers across the country. In the third quarter, organics drove twice the dollar share compared to volume share—12% of total produce dollars and 6% of total produce volume, underscoring why the growth of organics is so powerful and important to retailers,” said Matt Seeley, CEO of Organic Produce Network, in the press release. “As consumers continue to shift from conventional to organics, substitution is driving incremental dollars.”
Driving these gains: packaged salads, strawberries, and herbs, the press release says. Between the three categories they added $105 million in incremental sales growth over the same period last year, and more than 35% of total organic produce dollar growth. Packaged salads account for 17% of all organic dollar growth.
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The West region of the U.S. led in all areas of organic sales and volume, the press release notes, generating a 20% increase in dollars and a 17% increase in volume compared to Q3 2019.
“The Midwest and South continue to be the strongest opportunity regions for organic produce growth. Organic all commodity volume (ACV) dollars in those two regions lag far behind the West and Northeast,” said Steve Lutz, VP for Category Partners, in the press release. “Even though organic growth is strong compared to conventional produce, growth rates in the Midwest are below every other region, with ACV volume and dollar performance in the Midwest less than one-half the rate of supermarkets in the West.”
The full report is available here.
OPN will expand on how organic has fared in retail this year in a virtual event to be held on Wednesday, November 11 at 10 AM PDT, according to a second press release. The event will also discuss sales and consumer purchasing behavior, merchandising opportunities, and a preview of what to expect in 2021.
In the first discussion, OPN Co-founder Tonya Antle will talk to Fresh Thyme’s VP of Produce and Floral, Scott Shuette, about how Fresh Thyme is using organic produce as a point of difference to drive sales at store level, and about the challenges and opportunities the retailer has faced this year. Shuette will also discuss the holiday season and areas for improvement in the organic produce industry.
The session will be followed by an interview with Stew Leonard, Jr., President and CEO of Stew Leonard’s, a chain that the press release says is “widely known for its commitment to customer service.” The company has ranked on FORTUNE Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America list for 10 consecutive years.
“This has been a year unlike any other, with a variety of challenges, uncertainty and resolve by retailers across the country,” Antle said in the press release. “We are excited to have a pair of leading regional retailers share their thoughts on this year in terms of organic fresh produce sales and consumer purchasing behavior heading into the holidays, and provide a look into what next year may look like.”
For more information or to register, go here.