Posted on July 29, 2020 by Sustainable Food News

June’s organic produce retail sales slip from pandemic highs

Bananas still single largest organic volume category

Total organic fresh produce sales and volume rose 17 percent to $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2020.

That’s according to a report on organic fresh produce sold at retail nationwide released Wednesday by the Organic Produce Network, LLC (OPN), an online and live content programming group for the organic fresh produce industry, and Category Partners LLC.

The Q2 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report, which was based on retail sales scan data from Nielsen, showed that sales of organic fresh produce during April-June were also up 18 percent by volume.

For the first half of 2020, organic fresh produce sales were up 11 percent to $3.3 billion, compared to the first six months of 2019, and up 13 percent in volume over the first six months of 2019.

The gains in organic produce sales continued to be boosted by elevated sales at the retail level as consumers maintained an at-home eating trend in the face of restaurant closures, according to the report.

“While we see some moderated growth in organic sales in the second quarter of 2020, consumers continue to follow established pre-Covid-19 organic fresh produce purchasing habits despite the negative economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Matt Seeley, CEO of OPN.

For the most recent month, volume and dollar gains of organic fresh produce in June dropped slightly from levels seen in April and May. For the month of April, organic produce dollars sales were up 18.4 percent, with May up by 16.3 percent from the same time period last year. June organic dollar sales increased 14.4 percent, sliding from levels of earlier in the pandemic crisis.

The West continues to be the strongest region in the United States for organic performance, with a second quarter 2020 ACV (All Commodity Volume) showing 36 percent above the national average. Overall organic sales in the West were up 25 percent in Q2 versus a year ago, with volume up 23 percent during the same time period.

As for various organic product categories, the top 10 categories all generated double digit growth for the quarter. In terms of volume growth during Q2, the top 10 categories drove 67 percent of total organic volume compared to 71 percent in the first quarter of the year.

Organic packaged salads continued to lead the way, representing 20 percent of all organic dollars. When the lettuce category is added, the two categories represented nearly one out of every four dollars spent on organic fresh produce items. From a volume perspective, bananas remain the single largest organic volume category, responsible for nearly 20 percent of all retail organic volume.

“Packaged salads continue to be the organic sales driver, with bananas the clear volume leader. From a space to sales perspective there is likely no other organic item in the produce department that can match the consumer purchase rate of bananas,” said Steve Lutz of Category Partners. “Three categories clearly drive volume growth: bananas, apples and carrots – with those three commodities driving 46 percent of all incremental volume during the second quarter of this year.”

Read the full Q2 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report.

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