"The growth in organic produce volume slightly outpacing conventional produce reflects the continued consumer interest in healthier and sustainable food choices, reaffirming the vitality of the organic industry in today's market," said Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. "It's also heartening to see organics making a comeback after grappling with inflationary pressures in recent years."
In the third quarter of this year, 15 of the top 20 organic fresh produce categories posted increases in dollar sales compared to the same period last year. The organic berry category (which includes strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries) led overall dollar sales with $461 million for the quarter, representing a year-over-year increase of 6.9 percent. Organic broccoli saw the largest sales jump, up 14 percent from the same period last year. The second-largest dollar category — packaged salads — experienced a decline of 5.4 percent in sales in the third quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022, with total sales of $362 million.
Volume gains for the quarter were seen in 12 of the top 20 categories, including double-digit growth for broccoli and watermelon. Organic celery posted the largest decline in volume (down 21 percent), followed by peaches (down 16 percent) and packaged salads ( down 6.4 percent). Bananas continued to remain the largest volume category.
Geographically, every region saw year-over-year increases in dollar sales, with the South showing the largest gain at 4 percent. The West region was the only area to see a decrease in volume and an increase in price per pound.