In 2020, US consumers purchased 14.2% more organic fruits and vegetables than in 2019. The market growth is directly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, explains Merek Dorf, US Sales and Crop Specialist at Rijk Zwaan. “Consumers trust organic products and regard them as healthy.”
The Organic Produce Network and Category Partners LLC published these figures in the 2020 Organic Produce Performance Report. According to scanned data from Nielsen, US organic fresh produce sales reached $8.5 billion in 2020, representing an increase of more than $1 billion from 2019 and accounting for 12% of all fresh produce sales.
“The coronavirus pandemic has raised consumer awareness of the relationship between nutrition and health,” according to Dorf. “Organic fresh products are a healthy and safe option for consumers.”
High demand for prepackaged salads
Number one in the top 10 growth categories is the prepackaged salad category, which achieved an impressive 15.4% increase in sales value.
Dorf: “The bottom line is that consumers are eating more meals at home and are increasingly focusing on health and wellness. That has spurred salad sales, especially fresh-cut salad kits because they are quick and easy to prepare.”
Rick Falconer, Manager Director of Rijk Zwaan USA, comments: “The trend is great and it’s wonderful that prepackaged salads top the list. However, there is most definitely room to grow. I’d like to see other vegetables besides leafy salads and tomatoes in the top ten list. Let’s get carrots, peppers, cucumbers and melons on this list in the future.”
Rijk Zwaan varieties fit in organic salad blends
As an industry leader in resistance breeding, Rijk Zwaan can help vegetable growers to find the right varieties for both salad kits and other current and future top-ten fruits and vegetables. “Resistances are the most important cornerstone for organic varieties. Our Bremia and Nasanovia resistance packages are a major factor in enabling organic growers to produce leafy vegetables,” explains Dorf.
“We sell most of our major varieties as untreated seeds for organic production: lettuce, spinach, celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, peppers and cucumbers. These are all important components in organic salad blends. Organic growers can choose from a wide range of Rijk Zwaan varieties,” he adds.