Published: February 7, 2023

Category: Organic News

Dollar growth up 3%, volume down 3.7%

Organic fresh produce sales grew by 3% in 2022, while volume declined by 3.7 percent, as total sales topped $9.4 billion for the year, according to the 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report released recently by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners.

The organic fresh berry category (which includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) was the top organic produce category, holding more than 16% of organic fresh produce dollars in 2022. Overall fresh berry sales topped 1.6 billion for the year, with organic packaged salads a close second at $1.55 billion.

Total fresh produce sales gained 7.3% in dollars for the year but experienced a –1.3 percent decline in volume. Organic fresh produce made up 12% of all fresh produce sales and accounted for 7% of all fresh produce volume.

“In an inflationary time like this, we expect to see the growth of sales dollars and volume declines repeated for the majority of organic and conventional fresh produce items,” said Tom Barnes, President of Category Partners. “The average conventional price per pound grew by 9.2 percent compared to 2021 while organic produce price per pound rose by 7 percent. With rising prices, we may see more selective organic shopping from consumers as they substitute higher-priced organic items for conventional ones.”

Organic apples were the largest example of substitution as their price per pound increased by more than double the amount of conventional, resulting in a volume decline of –10.3%.

For 2022, 13 of the top 20 organic produce categories (by total sales) posted increases in dollars, with organic onions generating the largest increase (15.4%), followed by cucumbers, potatoes, and avocados. Conversely, green beans posted the largest drop in dollars (–5%), and lettuce and bell peppers also posted noticeable declines in dollars for the year.

Additionally, 14 of the top 20 organic produce sales categories posted declines in volume, with only 10 of those categories showing positive dollar growth. Organic bananas continued to be the biggest volume mover despite a –1.2% volume decline in 2022 and showed a modest 3.9% increase in sales from the previous year.

Organic performance in 2022 was consistent among all regions of the nation—dollars grew and volume declined. The Northeast saw the lowest dollar growth and highest volume decline, while the South continues to show the most year-over-year improvement.

Source: Organic Produce Network

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Organic & Non-GMO Insights, February 2023