Sales of organic fresh produce climbed 4% in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, according to Organic Produce Network and Category Partners’ Q1 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report. Total sales exceeded $2.3 billion.
This growth was driven by higher prices, as sales volume for organic fresh produce declined by 0.9% for the quarter. Conventional produce sales showed the same pattern: sales up (+7.0%) but volume down (-2.7%).
However, the price difference between organic and conventional produce is shrinking, as it has been for a few years. In Q1, prices for conventional fresh produce increased 10.4%, while prices for organic produce increased only 4.9%. The price per pound for organic produce was 73% higher than for conventional produce in Q1 2022, which, while still significant, is still 10 percentage points from Q1 2019.
“While organic fresh produce volume declined for the first time in a long while, organic dollar sales continue to grow even after consecutive years of growth due to higher prices across the entire produce department,” Matt Seeley, CEO of Organic Produce Network, said in a press release.
Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners commented: “There remains room for growth of organic fresh produce as long as suppliers remain aware of not only the rising costs of organic produce but also the opportunity presented by a significantly larger increase in conventional produce prices.”