Sales of organic berries and packaged salads are driving organic produce sales, according to the Organic Produce Network (OPN).
Matt Seeley, chief executive officer of the OPN, noted at a recent Excellence in Organic Merchandising seminar that packaged salads were the top selling organic produce item in the past year, while organic berries came in second place.
“Organic fresh produce is a gateway to other organic food sales,” Seeley. “Vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals — all incorporate organics. In health and beauty, it is not enough to have cucumber lotion, it is going to have to be organic cucumber lotion.”
Produce as a category in the organic market is growing overall, with sales of organic crops accounting for 56 percent of the total organic market in the United States, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. FoodBev reports that the top organic commodities for 2016 were milk, eggs, broiler chickens, apples, and lettuce, followed by strawberries, grapes, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and spinach.
“The results of the 2016 Certified Organic Survey show the continued interest and growth in organic foods,” said National Agricultural Statistics Service administrator Hubert Hamer. “The survey provides the only comprehensive source of national and state data on certified organic production." He notes that the survey was expanded last year to include fresh and processed information separately for all fruit and berry crops.
Strawberries and spinach top the Environmental Working Group’s 2017 Dirty Dozen list, which may account for some of the popularity of the organic versions of these items.
California is leading the nation in certified organic sales, with $2.9 billion. California also boasts the largest share of certified organic farms, with 2,713 currently registered.
In January, a report from Allied Market Research showed that the global organic food and beverage market was expected to triple by 2022, and organic fruits and vegetables were designated the second most significant portion of the market after organic beverages.
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