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Organic produce sales edge up againOrganic produce sales edge up again

Year-over-year receipts increase for the second quarter in a row.

Tim Hearden

November 8, 2023

3 Min Read
Organic cauliflower
Organic cauliflower.USDA ARS

The sales and volume of organic produce nationwide from July through September increased by 2% and 1.9% from the same period last year, marking the second straight quarter of year-over-year growth, according to a report issued by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners.

Sales for the third quarter of 2023 topped $2.44 billion and volume movement was at 733 million pounds. The increase was similar for conventional produce dollar sales and volume, as sales were up 2.4% from the summer of 2022 and volume increased 1.8%, the Organic Produce Performance Report stated.

Organic pricing rose by a mere 0.1% compared to the third quarter of 2022, while prices for conventional produce rose an average of 0.6% during the same period. Some products saw a decrease in price, including herbs and spices, which posted a 4.8% decline in average price from a year earlier.

“Both conventional and organic produce still follow inflationary trends, but the price increase in each segment was considerably less compared to the past two years,” the report stated.

Every region of the country saw consistent increases in dollars, with the South seeing the most substantial boosts in organic spending (4.1%) and volume (5.5%). The West was the only region to see a decrease in volume from the previous summer, at 1.7%. Prices in the West went up by an average of 1%.

Related:Organic Grower Summit speaker list set

Among commodities, organic broccoli saw significant increases in both dollars and volume nationally, at 13.9% and 14.5%, respectively, the research found. Berries led the quarter as the top organic produce category in dollars, the report stated.

The report covers total food sales in the U.S., including at supermarkets, mass merchandisers, club stores, dollar stores, convenience stores and military commissaries.

The report was compiled for OPN by Tom Barnes and Jashon Newlun of Category Partners, an Idaho-based business research firm. Company CEO Tom Barnes says the growth in organic produce volume reflects consumer interest in healthier and more sustainable food sources.

“It’s also heartening to see organics making a comeback after grappling with inflationary pressures in recent years,” he said.

State of the industry discussed

The industry’s commercial successes are sure to be a topic of interest at the upcoming Organic Grower Summit on Nov. 29-30 in Monterey, Calif. The sixth annual event at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa is cosponsored by OPN and Western Growers.

Capping off the conference will be a grower roundtable titled “The State of Organic Growing,” moderated by Walt Duflock of Western Growers and featuring Joe Pezzini of Taylor Farms, Nishan Moutafian of Driscoll’s and Briana Giampaoli of Live Oak Farms.

Related:Organic Grower Summit to provide firsthand knowledge

The session – one of two keynote presentations at the conference – will explore how the three leaders in organic production are dealing with hot-button topics including supply chain issues, inflation, labor, sustainability, innovations and technologies, according to a release.

“While consumption of organic fresh produce continues to climb, domestic growers face an unprecedented array of regulatory and marketplace challenges that threaten future growth,” Duflock said. “The leaders on this panel will share valuable insight into the state of the organic industry and strategies for turning obstacles into opportunities.”

Registration for OGS is open; cost is $495 for general attendees, $395 for Western Growers and California Certified Organic Farmers members, or $295 for Nov. 30 only. Visit www.organicgrowersummit.com.

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