1. Department: Food

Survey: Organic Sales Up 12.4 Percent, To $61.9 Billion

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) yesterday released its annual survey, saying that “U.S. organic sales soared to new highs in 2020, jumping by a record 12.4 percent to $61.9 billion. It marked the first time that total sales of organic food and non-food products have surpassed the $60 billion mark, and reflected a growth rate more than twice the 2019 pace of 5 percent.”

“The pandemic caused abrupt changes in all of our lives. We’ve been eating at home with our families, and often cooking three meals a day. Good, healthy food has never been more important, and consumers have increasingly sought out the Organic label. Organic purchases have skyrocketed as shoppers choose high-quality organic to feed and nourish their families,” said Laura Batcha, OTA’s CEO-executive director.

Some notes from the survey:

o “Leading the charge for healthy food was the desire for fresh produce. Fresh organic produce sales rose by nearly 11 percent in 2020 to sales of $18.2 million. Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables also jumped with frozen sales alone rising by more than 28 percent. Including frozen, canned and dried products, total sales of organic fruit and vegetables in 2020 were $20.4 billion. More than 15 percent of the fruits and vegetables sold in this country now are organic.”

o “Pantry stocking was overwhelmingly the main growth driver in 2020. As bread making and cookie baking took kitchens across the country by storm, sales of organic flours and baked goods grew by 30 percent.”

o “Black beans, flour, and chicken broth are not typically out of stock. They were in 2020. In that unprecedented year, organic’s reputation of being better for you and the planet positioned it for dramatic growth. In almost every organic food aisle, demand jumped by near-record levels, propelling U.S. organic food sales in 2020 up a record 12.8 percent to a new high of $56.4 billion. In 2020, almost 6 percent of the food sold in the United States was certified organic.”

The survey concludes: “While the growth in organic food sales is not expected to continue at 2020’s fast rate, organic food sales are expected to stay on a strong growth path in 2021. It’s anticipated that the grocery industry at large will get a lasting lift from the pandemic for the foreseeable future as many consumers continue to cook more at home.”

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