- More than half of U.S. households purchase organic produce, according to a new report from the Organic Trade Association released Thursday during the inaugural Organic Produce Summit.
- Standout growth categories from 2015 included organic bananas, which grew sales by more than 30% to $165 million, and organic value-added vegetables, such as chopped kale, peeled carrots, and ready-to-cook squash, which saw sales rise 54% to nearly $150 million.
- Since 2011, U.S. produce sales have grown more than 25%, while organic fruit and vegetable sales have jumped 123% and 92%, respectively, during that time.
Sales growth for organic produce becomes noteworthy as more packaged food manufacturers eye the perimeter of the store for expansion opportunities. Campbell has made strategic acquisitions in this area of the store, including Bolthouse Farms in 2012 and Garden Fresh Gourmet last year, and McCormick announced in April that it would acquire the Australian manufacturer of Garden Gourmet, a chilled, fresh packaged herbs brand sold in the produce section.
The growth of organic produce sales means more traffic in this area of the store, which can benefit any products — organic or otherwise — found here.
But the stark difference between the pace of growth for nonorganic versus organic produce may push packaged food manufacturers to consider expanding their organic varieties. WhiteWave Foods recently announced its turnaround plan for the Earthbound Farm fresh and frozen produce brand, which positions WhiteWave (and soon to be, its buyer Danone) in the fast-growing organic produce category.