While the booming $ 13 billion organic fresh produce marketplace continues to attract attention from consumers and traders alike, certain products have performed more strongly than others. Organic Produce Summit held in Monterey, California this week, Organic Trade Association (OTA) CEO Laura Batcha gave the lowdown on some key trends to watch.
The OTA had previously revealed the strong growth rates seen for organic produce in its industry survey released in May, but in Monterey Batcha drew attention to more revealing insights.
She said more than half of all households in the United States now purchase organic produce, and findings from Nielsen show today’s organic produce shopper tends to be more kid-focused than the average produce shopper.
Additionally, the vast majority of these enthusiastic organic produce buyers, at 77%, are going to their favorite grocery store or supermarket chain to buy their organic fruits and vegetables.
Within organic produce there are some very strong categories in their own right, particularly organic bananas which grew 33% year-on-year to US$ 165 million, and organic value-added veggies grew 54% to almost US$ 150 million.
She added high growth rates had also been seen in organic blackberries (+61%), organic salad greens and baby carrots (+11%) and organic Pink Lady apples (+96%).
“The organic produce market is growing and strong, and it is driving trends in produce innovation across the board,” Batcha said.
The U.S. organic industry saw its largest dollar gain ever in 2015, adding US$ 4.2 billion in sales, with organic produce sales accounting for 36% of the US$ 39.7 billion U.S. organic food market.
Almost 13 percent of all the produce sold in the United States now is organic.
“We are excited to be sharing these numbers and findings on the rapidly growing organic produce sector.
“The more we know about the market and what consumers want, the better the organic produce grower, distributor and retailer can respond to meet the needs of today’s food buyer. Understanding the organic produce consumer will drive the future growth of the sector.”
Batcha said the findings bear important insights for retailers looking to draw more shoppers to the fresh produce section, as the booming demand for organic produce will spill over into purchases of conventional produce.
“Data show that the organic shopper is an extremely health-conscious consumer who is completely dedicated to eating fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.
“Organic is a top choice because of the confidence in organic as the choice to avoid foods grown with toxic and persistent pesticides.
“Because of this health-driven commitment retailers should not be afraid to differentiate organic produce on their store shelves.
“Shoppers recognize the USDA Organic seal and respond to positive messaging about what organic delivers, but at the end of the day they want to fill their carts with farm fresh foods — benefiting the entire produce section of the store.”