MONTEREY, CALIF. - Organic fruits and vegetables out-performed conventional produce in the first three months of 2020. Data released by the Organic Produce Network shows that organic produce sales were up 8% in the first quarter and conventional produce was up 6.6% compared to first quarter 2019.  

During the month of March, total organic produce sales were up 22%, a likely result of the escalation of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States throughout the month. Total sales in March were $546.8 million. 

The Organic Produce Network’s “2020 Organic Produce Performance Report” utilized Nielsen scan dates covering food sales and outlets in the United States over the last 13 weeks.  

"What we see in the Nielsen data is that organic produce at retail is concentrated within fewer categories than conventional produce, especially in the winter months when locally produced organic products are less available," said Steve Lutz, senior vice president of insights and category patterns of the Organic Produce Network. "The top 10 organic categories in produce drive 59 percent of dollars and 71 percent of volume in Q1. These same categories contribute only 42 percent of total conventional sales and 52 percent of volume."   

Packaged salads, apples and bananas generated 35% of total organic produce growth in the first quarter, with bananas, carrots and apples generating 44% of organic volume. 

"Our nation is understanding the importance of the selfless dedication the farming and grocery industry is doing day in and day out," said Seely. "Consumers are looking for items they trust during these uncertain times and organic fresh produce is a healthy and safe option for all consumers." 

The full organic produce report is available here