In the US, total organic fresh produce sales for the first quarter of 2022 were up by 4% from the same period in 2021, topping $2.3 billion for the quarter, according to the Q1 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report released exclusively by Organic Produce Network and Category Partners.
While organic fresh produce sales continued to grow in Q1, overall volume declined due to high prices. Conventional produce showed the same pattern, with sales revenue up 7% for the quarter ($16.8 billion) but volume slipping 2.7%.
Higher average retail pricing in Q1 is the driver of most of the gains, with average prices of conventional produce up by over 10% compared to Q1 of last year. By contrast, organic fresh produce pricing was up by just under 5%.
Packaged salads dominated total organic dollars, reaching nearly $400 million for the quarter, a gain of 1.5% y-o-y. The berry category overall grew by 9.3% in value from Q1 2021, with strawberries posting gains in both dollars and volume of more than 16%. However, blueberries were down 7% in value and 19% in volume.
Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners, said: “There are some strong takeaways from the Q1 data, most notably that overall volumes remain elevated from Q1 2019, before the COVID pandemic drove double-digit sales and volume gains at retail. We believe the second quarter of this year will tell a similar story as we move further away from 2020 when the pandemic shuttered most foodservice, causing supermarket sales to soar.”