State of Organic Produce 2022 Report is Released

Web AdminCitrus, Fruits, Specialty Crops, Vegetables

In a report released by Organic Produce Network, the performance of individual organic produce categories displayed a wide range of results last year (2022). Though total organic produce sales had a 3% increase, and the volume showed a -3.7% decrease, the performance of the top 20 categories varied greatly due to inflation and other factors of a complex market environment.

organic produce

Sales and Volume Performance

In the report, the best organic produce performers in sales were onions (15.4%), cucumbers (11.3%), and potatoes (10.7%), while the worst performers were lettuce (−3.1%), celery (−2.3%), and bell peppers (−2.1%). Turning to volume, the best-performing organic commodities were grapes (6.9%), herbs and spices (6.5%), and cucumbers (2.7%), while the weakest were lettuce (−12.7%), avocados (−11.4%), and apples (−10.3%).

The three bottom volume performers all had alternate factors beyond inflation. Lettuce suffered aphid pressure in the desert due to warmer temperatures and was later faced with a devastating blow by INSV (impatiens necrotic spot virus); avocados had a lower volume out of Mexico in the first half of the year; and the apple supply was impacted by a very small Washington crop.

Two categories that heavily influenced the sector’s overall trend of increased sales and decreased volume were fresh herbs and spices and grapes. Both categories showed increases in sales and volume, with organic herbs and spices showing gains of 4.1% and 6.5%, and organic grapes showing gains of 8.3% and 6.9%.

Retail Sales

Berries took the lead in retail sales for 2022, outshining packaged salads slightly with $1.561 billion in sales (packaged salad sales totaled $1.556 billion). Bananas remained as the top volume mover with nearly 509 million pounds sold at retail in 2022.

Of the categories analyzed, organic cucumbers took the lead in price premium percentage in 2022, selling for an average of 138% more per pound than conventional cucumbers. Celery, however, had one of the lowest premiums at 22% (dropping from 32% in 2021). Organic bananas had an increase in their price premium over conventional bananas, jumping from 25% in 2021 to 32% in 2022.

Regional Performance

State of Organic Produce 2022 explored the 20 leading categories by their regional performance, which varied greatly in certain circumstances. Organic celery lost significant volume this year in every region except the west where it posted an enormous gain of 26.7%.

Organic onions experienced a consistent performance across the U.S. as they enjoyed double-digit sales gains in all four regions. Packaged salads also had similar results across all four regions, declining in volume by mid-single digits and increasing in sales by low single digits, reflecting the performance of the overall organic produce category.

Source: Organic Produce Network