Sales of organic fresh produce reached new heights last year, according to a new report from Organic Produce Network and Category Partners. A 5.5% sales increase in 2021 pushed annual organic sales over $9 billion for the first time (reaching a total of $9.2 billion).
The organic fresh berry category led the way in year-over-year growth with a 13.9% increase in sales and a 10.2% increase in volume. Although pre-packaged salads again had the highest total sales at $1.5 million, this was only a 3.2% gain for the category. By total volume, bananas topped the list at 547 million pounds, a 3.4% increase over 2020.
Overall growth in organic fresh produce sales also outpaced sales growth of conventional produce for the year. While conventional still held the highest share of produce sales and volume (88% and 93%, respectively), it had a modest 1.9% sales increase and 3.3% volume drop for the year. Meanwhile, though organic’s total produce share by dollar was only 12%, the category grew by 5.5% in 2021. It also had a 2.1% increase in volume, bringing its total volume share to 7%.
Despite changes in consumer shopping behavior and foodservice places reopening, sales of organic fresh produce have remained strong. The fourth quarter of 2021 marked the eighth consecutive quarter of sales growth for the sector — it exceeded its Q4 2020 sales by 4.9%.