April 16, 2020

Organic Produce Sales Surge in 2020 First Quarter

Total sale of organic produce this past March increased by 22.1 percent over the same month in 2019, according to the 2020 Q1 Organic Produce Performance Report made available by the Organic Produce Network and Category Partners this week utilizing data made available by contract with Nielsen.

Conventional produce saw a significant year-over-year shift in the dollar trends as well, with an 20.7 percent increase in March compared to 6.6 percent for the entire quarter. Organics volume also outpaced the growth of conventional produce during the month of March when consumers’ hoarding behavior peaked in an. Organic volume for March increased by 25.8 percent while conventional increased by 22 percent.

The reported note:

“It is worth considering that because organic distribution and product assortment are more limited in supermarkets than conventional alternatives, the upside sales lift during this short term change in consumer demand was inherently constrained for organic items. As we saw in many supermarkets in March, consumers swept into stores exhausting supplies, starting first with staples. In many stores this created out-of-stock conditions forcing consumers to make second choice purchase decisions. In conventional produce, broad assortment and deep inventories allow shoppers to select alternative varieties or packages if the preferred item is sold out. For organics, supermarket assortment and inventory are tighter and there are simply fewer choices. This means fewer ‘second choice’ organic selling opportunities for retailers and fewer alternatives for consumers if their preferred organic item had sold out.”

Geographically, the western US region generates the largest share of total organic sales. Organic volume in the West jumped by 9.7 percent in Q1.

The top three organic categories (bananas, carrots, apples) drive 44 percent of total organic volume. These three categories have among the lowest organic/conventional price gaps. Packaged salads, bananas and apples generated the highest dollar growth in organic dollars in Q1.

To read the full report, visit the Organic Produce Network.

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