Posts Tagged “organic produce”
Organic produce in various categories continues to show significant growth in popularity.
According to FreshFacts on Retail, published by the United Fresh Produce Association for the third-quarter of 2016, weekly dollar sales of organic vegetables per store were up 7.6 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015. Dollar sales of organic fruit were up 17.5 percent.
Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2016 published by The Organic Trade Association found over 82 percent of American families say they buy organic sometimes, one of the highest levels in the survey’s seven-year history.
Almost 5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. in 2015 was organic.
Suppliers of organic produce were reporting sizeable increases.
Naturipe Farms LLC of Salinas, CA, the world’s larger produce of organic blueberries, doubling its production of organic blueberries in Argentina and Chile.
This month the company is producing its first crops of organic raspberries, blackberries and blueberries from Mexico and is investing in new production of organic strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in California and Florida.
Well-Pict Inc. of Watsonville started its new spring crop of strawberries from Ventura County, CA in mid-January, and will be shipping into spring.
Boskovich Farms Inc., of Oxnard, CA ships a number of organic vegetables led by kale, then Brussels sprouts, green onions and celery.
Stemilt Growers LLC, Wenatchee, WA is shipping organic apples and pears, with approximately 10 percent of it apple shipments coming from organic apples with galas, Honeycrisp, and granny smith among the top varieties.
CMI Orchards LLC in Wenatchee, WA has organic shipments that are up about 50 percent, with the trend expected to continue for the next four years. More acreage is being transitioned from conventional to organic. CMI offers 15 organic apple varieties and six organic pear varieties.
Viva Tierra Organic Inc., Sedro-Woolley, WA is handling organic apple supplies from Argentina and Chile that started earlier this month, in addition to its organic supply from Washington.
by Organic Trade Association
Americans are gobbling up more organic fruits and vegetables than ever before, from organic blueberries and organic apples to organic packaged greens and cut-up organic vegetables ready for their children’s lunch box or their family’s dinner plate.
Over half of all households in the United States now purchase organic produce. The sale of organic bananas alone – now a $165 million market – soared by more than 30 percent last year. Organic “value-added” vegetables (think chopped kale, peeled carrots and ready-to-cook squash) grew by a whopping 54 percent in 2015 to almost $150 million.
What’s big in the organic produce sector? A few standouts in the produce section:
- Organic bananas: Sales up a solid 33 percent from a year ago.
- Organic blackberries: Sales up a sharp 61 percent from a year ago.
- Organic salad greens and organic baby carrots: Sales of each up 11 percent versus a year ago.
- Organic Pink Lady Apples: Sales almost double (up 96 percent) that of a year ago.
“The organic produce market is growing and strong, and it is driving trends in produce innovation across the board,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently at the first-ever Organic Produce Summit, held in Monterey, California.
Digging deep into the produce aisle, Batcha gave a State of the Organic Produce presentation on Thursday, unveiling the findings of a report on the produce-buying habits of Americans compiled for the Organic Trade Association by Nielsen, the global information and measurement company.
According to the OTA 2016 Organic Industry Survey released in May, fresh organic produce sales in the U.S. reached $13 billion in 2015. (Total sales of organic fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen and canned, amounted to $14.4 billion.) The $13-billion market includes $5.7 billion worth of organic produce sold in the mass market (supermarkets, big-box stores, warehouse clubs), $4.7 billion sold by specialty and natural retailers, and $2.7 billion in direct sales (farmers’ markets, CSAs, online).
Nielsen measures organic sales primarily from the mass market, and puts organic produce sales at $5.5 billion. The Nielsen figures do not include specialty and natural retailers, nor direct sales. Further, Nielsen’s data reflect grocery coding systems, which are based on retailer description and in which organic can be under-represented.
The Nielsen figures, however, delve down to the specific types of organic vegetable or organic fruit sold, providing detailed information on the buying habits of consumers in the major category of supermarkets and big-box stores.
Since 2011, the sales of produce in this country have increased over 25 percent. Convenience, a greater awareness of the health benefits of produce, and an increased interest in local food sources largely contributed to the increase. And driven by the desire to improve upon already healthy food choices, organic fruit sales have soared 123 percent during that time, while organic vegetable sales have jumped by 92 percent.
The U.S. organic industry saw its largest dollar gain ever in 2015, adding $4.2 billion in sales. Total organic food sales in the U.S. were $39.7 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year. Organic produce sales accounted for 36 percent of the organic market. Almost 13 percent of all the produce sold in the United States now is organic.
The Nielsen findings showed that today’s organic produce shopper tends to be more kid-focused than the average produce shopper, and that the huge majority of these enthusiastic organic produce buyers – 77 percent – are going to their favorite grocery store or supermarket chain to buy their organic fruits and vegetables.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 8,500 organic businesses across 50 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect ORGANIC with a unifying voice that serves and engages its diverse members from farm to marketplace.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Service’s 2014 Organic Survey, recently released, analyzes data from the 2012 Census of Agriculture. About 3.7 million acres of land had organic products in 2012, 687,000 of them in industry leader California.
Of the 14,093 certified or exempt U.S. farms, 2,805 were in California.
The value of U.S. organic agricultural products in 2012 was $5.5 billion, according to the report. California accounted for about $2.2 billion of that total. About 164,403 acres of organic vegetables, potatoes and melons worth $1.25 billion were harvested in 2012.
Organic grape production totaled 98,805 tons and was worth about $188 million. About 563 million pounds of organic apples, worth $250 million, were produced in 2012. In the “other fruit, nuts and berries” category, about 3,523 farms produced $579 million worth of product in 2012.
The trend is not restricted to any particular region.
“[Organic] doesn’t have any demographic boundaries,” Organic Trade Association (OTA) Chief Executive Laura Batcha said, according to the Washington Business Journal. “This additional new data [shows] it doesn’t have regional or partisan boundaries.”
Leading the organic pack is produce. Organic fruits and vegetables reigned in about $13 billion in 2014, making up more than 36 percent of all organic food sales.
The growth has resulted in the USDA creating a new database to make it possible for sumers to track companies to organic certifications, according to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“The more diverse type of operations and the more growing market sectors we have in American agriculture, the better off our country’s rural economy will be,” Vilsack said, according to The Times-Picayune,while anticipating a positive impact on agriculture.
The OCT also found that organic produce in stores has doubled in the last decade, now occupying 12 percent of all produce available in the aisles. This could be in direct response to demand, as the association also reported that the majority of American households nationwide now endeavor to make organic food purchases while shopping retail, the Washington Business Journal reports.
Because of stable volume and higher pricing, retail fresh produce sales in 2013 were up 4.8 percent, according to the review edition of the United FreshFacts on Retail Report. The United Fresh Produce Association report, produced in partnership with the Nielsen Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, showed annual trends for top fruits, vegetables, value-added produce and organic commodities.
A strong year in 2013 was enjoyed by organic produce, with sales gains of near 20 percent for both organic fruits and vegetables compared with 2012. Fruits saw strong sales gains in 2013 includingd avocados (11.7 percent), specialty produce (11.5 percent), citrus (8.9 percent) and apples (6.5 percent).
The highest sales gains with vegetables in 2013 were cucumbers (7.8 percent), cooking vegetables (7 percent), packaged salad (6.7 percent) and onions (6.5 percent). Volume gains for fruits in 2013 were topped by avocados (10.3 percent), stone fruit (5.1 percent), citrus (3,3 percent) and apples (2.4 percent).
The top gains in volume for vegetables included peppers (3.9 percent), packaged salad (3.8 percent), and carrots (1.7 percent).
Highlights for 2013 in the report include: produce department sales averaged $47,000 per week per store, up 4.8 percent from 2012; volume sales declined for four of the top 10 vegetable categories; value-added vegetables posted an increase of 15 percent in weekly dollar sales; fresh-cut fruit sales increased 13.2 percent; organic fruit volume up 17.8 percent compared with 2012; and organic vegetable volume 14.2 percent higher than 2012.
“What all this means for parents is that we should stop worrying so much about whether the apples we buy are organic produce or conventional—we should just start giving our kids more apples.” the article concluded. This conclusion is strongly supported by health experts, scientists, and environmental groups.
Featured in the publiction’s article were papers reviewed by peers, government data, interviews with scientists and provided information that may help consumers make better shopping choices for themselves and their families. But once again there were numerous negative comments and social media discussions in response to the content. We have seen this type of response and controversy before and it seems to continue despite general agreement about the safety of organic and conventional produce and that common fear based misconceptions about produce safety can discourage healthier eating.
So there is general agreement that the presentation of science based information to consumers is a positive thing, that generating misguided fears about residues is detrimental to efforts to increase daily consumption of fruits and veggies for better health, and that both organic and conventional produce is safe and we should all be eating more. It seems on the issues of most importance for consumers, there is more agreement than controversy.
By the Alliance for Food and Farming
A new study from Colorado State University (CSU) shows that consumers continue to have concerns about the safety of conventionally grown produce and the government regulatory processes in place to protect public health. Among other findings, the study showed that: “A distrust in regulatory oversight is a key trigger in the valuation for local and organic.” And, consumers generally agreed with the statement that “eating organic lowers health risks.”
These findings are concerning since the body of nutrition science clearly shows that increased consumption of either conventional or organic produce results in better overall health and a longer life. Toxicological analyses also overwhelmingly show the safety of conventional produce – just look at the calculator function and accompanying report on safefruitsandveggies.com as an example. And, the perception that conventional produce is somehow inferior and less safe could have a negative impact on consumption, especially among lower income consumers who may not be able to afford the organic alternative.
Further, the expert panel report commissioned by the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) in 2010 examined the U.S. regulatory system in place to ensure food safety. The panel found: “The U.S. EPA’s current process for evaluating the potential risks of pesticides on food is rigorous and health protective. The EPA’s testing requirements for pesticides used on food are far more extensive than for chemicals in any other use category, and include testing targeted specifically to assess the potential risks to fetuses, infants and children.”