Organic Produce Network says fresh produce sales and volume increased in the second quarter

In the US, organic fresh produce grew slightly in dollar sales and volume through the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, reversing a trend of volume loss seen in 2021 and 2022.

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This was according to the Q2 2023 Organic Produce Performance Report issued by Organic Produce Network (OPN) and Category Partners.

Overall, organic fresh produce dollar sales increased by 1.5 per cent for the quarter when compared with the same period of 2022, with sales topping US$2.4bn.

Volumes grew by just under 1 per cent, reversing a downward volume trend that started in 2021.

For the same period, conventional produce dollar sales grew by 2 per cent, while volume declined by 1.3 per cent, as total sales topped US$18.8bn.

OPN said that, as conventional produce outperformed organic produce in dollar growth, it appeared price increases on conventional produce were being more easily absorbed by consumers than the higher prices in organics.

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

Through the second quarter, 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 per cent, followed by bell peppers, mushrooms, and cucumbers.

At the same time, grapes and avocados posted double-digit declines for the quarter.

Berries and packaged salads continued to be the two dominant organic fresh produce categories, combining to top US$850m for the quarter.

Berry sales showed a 3.3 per cent increase from the same time last year, topping US$454m in sales, while the packaged salad category was flat at US$396m in sales.

The report said that noticeable volume gains were seen in 12 of the top 20 categories, including double-digit gains for onions, citrus, and avocados.

Organic celery posted the largest decline in volume (down 23 per cent), followed by grapes and potatoes.