Organic fresh produce sales increased 9% in the first quarter of 2021; Top $ 2 billion for the quarter

Total organic fresh produce sales for the first quarter of 2021 saw a continuation of last year's growth, increasing by 9.3% over the same period in 2020 and exceeding $ 2.2 billion for the quarter, according to the Performance Report. of organic products for the first quarter of 2021 published exclusively by Organic. Produce network and category partners.

Fresh produce in the first quarter 2021

Sales and volume of organic fresh produce in the first quarter of 2021 maintained a trend established in March last year, with sales soaring throughout the supermarket as consumers continued to eat at home in light of restaurant closures. However, moving into the second quarter of 2021, it is clear that pandemic closures are beginning to decline, and the question now is whether and how quickly consumers will return to their pre-COVID food buying behaviors.

The 9,3% year-on-year growth in organic fresh produce sales during the first quarter of 2021 outpaced conventional produce sales, which grew by just 2,9%. The volume of fresh organic products grew by 5,7%, while the conventional volume experienced a decrease of 0,6%.

Organic Fresh Produce Sales & Volume

By categories

The top 10 organic product categories continued to perform very well, with 8 of the top 10 categories generating increases in both dollars and volume. Of these top 10 categories, only organic carrots and apples did not generate annual dollar or volume earnings during the first quarter.

The top 10 organic categories drove 72% of total organic volume and 70% of total organic sales. In conventional products, these same categories generate only 64% of total sales and 67% of total volume.

“Once again, fresh organic product sales continue to be a great growth opportunity for retailers across the country. At the same time, as the country enters a post-COVID environment, with restaurants reopening and other food service options available, it appears that the double-digit growth rate will slow, ”said Matt Seeley, CEO. from Organic Produce Network.

Q1 2021 Top Ten Categories by Dollar

Organic sales

Packaged salads remain the top driver for organic dollars, accounting for 17% of all organic sales. During the first quarter of 2021, packaged salad dollars saw a 9,5% year-on-year increase. Organic berries have become a key winter category, generating more than 15% of total organic dollars in the first quarter. The first quarter of 2021 was a solid quarter for berries, generating a year-on-year sales increase of 8,8%.

"Within the top 10 categories, fresh herbs (+ 28,2%), lettuce (+ 34,7%) and tomatoes (+ 14,7%) generated the highest dollar percentage gains," said Steve Lutz. , Senior Vice President of Knowledge and Innovation at Category Partners.

By volume

“In terms of first quarter volume, bananas, carrots and apples rank as the main drivers of organic volume in retail, generating a remarkable 37% of total organic volume. Bananas alone generate 17% of all organic volume ”.

Organic sales and year-over-year volume increases during the first quarter of 2021 were strong in all regions of the US The West and Northeast are historically the strongest regions for organic sales, with the two regions generated the largest increases in dollar growth.

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