Organic Fresh Produce Sales Top $1 Billion in Third Quarter
Organic fresh produce sales reached $1.16 billion for the third quarter of 2017, an 8% increase in dollars and 10% rise in volume from the previous year, according to the Organic Produce Network (OPN).
Partnering with Nielsen, OPN’s review of third quarter organic fresh produce sales at retail stores across the country shows dollar sales of organic fresh vegetables were $576 million while organic fresh fruit sales were $408 million. The remaining time $173 million organic fresh sales are “other produce items,” which includes organic herbs/seasonings, beverages, and dressings. Collectively, organic fresh fruits and vegetables represented 10.2% of all produce dollars at the end of the third quarter.
Compared to a year ago, sales of organic fruit were up 8.3%, while sales of organic vegetables rose 6.2%.
“The dollar gains we are seeing across the board can be directly attributed to the growing demand for transparent products across the store,” says Matt Lally, client manager for Nielsen Fresh. “Beyond this, the increasing availability and supply are also positively impacting sales.”
The $226 million-dollar organic packaged salad category held the top slot in terms of dollar share during third quarter, capturing 19.5% of organic produce sales. Convenience combined with stable retail prices, are said to be the two biggest factors at play here.
Likewise, the $151 million-dollar berry category held on to second position, despite a slightly lower average retail price than last quarter. Berries, which represented 13.1% of organic produce sales in the third quarter, experienced an 11.5% increase in dollars and a 9.4% jump in volume compared to a year ago.
“As the demand for convenient, fresh organic options increases, availability should follow suit,” says Matt Seeley, CEO of the Organic Produce Network. “We expect once this happens to see pricing stabilize which will further fuel the consumer’s interest in all things organic.”
Also noteworthy is the $71 million-dollars fresh organic herbs/spices/seasonings category, accounting for 6.2% of total organic dollars, that was up 17% in dollars and 18% in volume vs. a year ago.
The $56 million-dollar organic banana category saw an 18% dollar growth compared to a year ago, making it the second largest fruit segment. Average retail prices, which were down nearly 6% compared to a year ago, likely played a role here.