Organic Continues to Show Y-o-Y Growth

Fruits, berries and vegetables on the counter at the street market
Fruits, berries and vegetables on the counter at the street market

Monterey, CA—Organic fresh produce sales continue to outpace conventional produce growth, according to the Q3 2021 Organic Produce Performance Report released by Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners. The report found that sales increased by 3.4% over the same period last year, with a volume increase of 1.6% nearing $2.3 billion for the quarter. By contrast, conventional produce sales grew by 1.3% in Q3 2021, while volume declined 2.3%, compared to Q3 2020.

Image ID: Labeled "Q3 2021 Organic Fresh Produce Sales and Volume." Below the title is a single-line chart indicating statistics for the total U.S.: Dollars ($2,291,276,766); $ Change Year-over-year ($70,440,189); Dollars % Change Y-o-Y (+3.2%); Volume (776,781,776); Volume Change Y-o-Y (8,486,100); Volume % Change Y-o-Y (+1.1%). Below that line are two pie charts demonstrating Total Produce Share $ and Total Produce Share Volume. The first pie chart shows that Organic took 12% share in dollars, up 3.4%, while Conventional took 88%, up 1.3%. The Volume chart shows that Organic made up 7% of the produce sold, up 1.6%; Conventional took 93%, down 2.3%. The Category Partners logo is in the bottom right corner. End Image ID.That sales number is in spite of the fact that this time last year saw pandemic-driven shopping, versus this quarter, which saw foodservice sectors beginning to reopen.

The organic berry category took the top spot, with an 11% increase in dollar growth and 7.3% volume growth, bringing the category to $407m. Apples showed the largest dollar increase, up 12.7%.

Image ID: A line chart labeled "Q3 2021 Top Ten Categories by Dollar." From highest to lowest, with dollar value and percent change, the ten categories are: berries ($407m, +11%); pre-packaged salad ($385m, +2.5%); apples ($141m, +12.7%); lettuce ($108m, +5.1%); herbs and spices ($101m, -1.2%); bananas ($97m, +5.1%); carrots ($96m, +0.7%); tomatoes ($83m, -4.6%); potatoes ($64m, -0.3%); and citrus ($41m, -3%). The Category Partners logo is in the bottom right corner. End image ID.Lettuce, citrus, and bananas delivered volume gains, although packaged salad was down slightly. Berries, apples, and packaged salads accounted for 85% of all organic fresh produce dollar growth in Q3.

Image ID: Line chart labeled "Q3 2021 Top Ten Categories by Volume." The ten categories, from highest volume to lowest, with volume and percent change, are: bananas (137m, 3.8%); berries (77m, 7.3%); carrots (59m, -3%); apples (56m, 2.7%); pre-packaged salads (53m, -0.8%); potatoes (37m, -2.8%); onions (33m, 3.8%); lettuce (32m, 6.3%); citrus (17m, 5.7%); and herbs and spices (17m, -8.6%). The Category Partners logo is in the bottom left corner. End image ID.Looking at location, organic performance was weakest in the northeast, where dollars grew 3.8% and volume fell by 1.5%. Overall performance was strongest in the south, where dollar sales grew 4.7%, and volume increased by 3.4%.

Image ID: A map of the United States, split into four sections, labeled "Q3 2021 Organic Fresh Produce Sales by Region." Each section is labeled with a chart. West: Dollars $702,820,254; $ Change y-o-y 7,970,389; Dollars % Change y-o-y +1.1%; volume 243,299,663; volume change y-o-y 960,916; volume % change y-o-y +0.4%. Midwest: dollars $351,346,413; $ change y-o-y 11,834,124; dollars % change y-o-y +3.5%; volume 122,311,668; volume change y-o-y 1,335,312; volume % change y-o-y 1,335,312; volume % change y-o-y +1.1%. South: dollars $718,555,343; $ change y-o-y 32,091,978; dollars % change y-o-y +4.7%; volume 257,470,808; volume change y-o-y 8,460,253; volume % change y-o-y +3.4%. Northeast region: dollars $515,398,970; $ change y-o-y 18,941,362; dollars % change y-o-y +3.8%; volume 152,984,232; volume change y-o-y -2,275,625; volume % change y-o-y -1.5%. In the bottom right is a chart with two columns, labeled $/$Mm All Commodity Volume, and the second is labeled Volume/$Mm All Commodity Volume. In that order, the info reads: Midwest Region: $6,321; 2,212. Northeast Region: $11,982; 3,575. South Region: $6,945; 2,502. West Region: $13,044; 4,531. Total US: $8,951; 3,049. The Category Partners logo is in the bottom right corner. End image ID.“The good news is Q3, 2021 continued to generate year over year growth in organic produce sales despite the Q3, 2020 comp period driven by pandemic buying behavior,” said Steve Lutz, SVP of Insights and Innovation at Category Partners. “It is encouraging to note that even though consumer purchases of conventional produce were lower than Q3 of last year, organic produce continues to generate growth—an indication that the longer-term trend of consumers moving toward organic produce continues to grow as organic’s share of the market rises.”

The report used Nielsen retail scan data covering total food sales and outlets over the course of July, August, and September. The full report is available at the OPN website.