Organic onions show steady growth - The Packer

Organic onions show steady growth

05/20/2014 12:40:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Organic onion sales are doing well, according to grower-shippers.

“Demand for organic onions seems to be stable. It’s not the most exciting or glamorous organic product but it’s a nice one,” said Matt Roberts, sales manager, Viva Tierra Organic, Inc., Sedro-Woolley, Wash.

He said the Northwest organic onion season is wrapping up after a successful year.

“It’s been a good season and we’re just wrapping up now as California is starting to come on strong,” Roberts said.

At this point, most organic onions go to retail bags, some go into bulk and just a few go to foodservice outlets, according to Roberts.

Delbert Bland, president of Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms, said the demand for organic sweet onions is growing.

“Organics are growing more and more popular,” Bland said, mentioning the company started packing its first organic onions of the year on May 2.

“They look good and the demand is beginning to expand some,” he said.

Still, it’s a small amount compared the number of conventional sweet onions that are sold.

“I’m not sure of the exact percentage but from what I understand, it’s only about 4% of the overall category, but that number depends on each store,” Bland said.

“It’s a bigger category than it was but there’s still a long way to go before there’s really any significant volume in comparison to conventional,” Bland said.

Bland believes organic onion customers aren’t taking away from conventional sales.

“I think it’s a different customer. They’re not buying it instead of a regular Vidalia onion. That customer is looking for organic produce and when they find an organic Vidalia it’s a treat for them,” he said.



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