U.S. organic sales topped $60 billion for the first time in 2020 and more than doubled the sales growth rate the industry experienced in 2019, the Organic Trade Association said in a report released Tuesday.
According to OTA's 2021 Organic Industry Survey, which tracks sales of organic food and non-food products, U.S. organic sales were about $61.9 in 2020, a growth rate of 12.4% over the 2019 figures. The association attributed most of the growth to a huge bump in home cooking brought about by the pandemic.
Organic food sales accounted for $56.4 billion of total sales. Organic produce sales grew by 11% and frozen and canned organic fruit and vegetable sales grew by 28%. More than 15% of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. are now organic, according to OTA. Additionally, “meal support” products contributed to the spike in the organic sales growth rate: Organic sauces and spices had a growth rate of 33% and organic spices observed a growth rate of 51%. OTA noted organic non-food products did not see the same exceptional growth but remained largely steady.
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Angela Jagiello, OTA's director of education and insights, said “The only thing that constrained growth in the organic food sector was supply.” She detailed that, due to the pandemic, not only were ingredients taxed but there was a shortage of packaging for the products, making it difficult for producers to meet consumer demand.
OTA CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha said the COVID-19 pandemic brought about “a renewed awareness of the importance of maintaining our health, and the important role of nutritious food. For more and more consumers, that means organic.”
OTA does not predict organic food sales will continue at the same record-breaking rate, but does expect organic sales to remain strong in 2021.
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