Organic sales are up slightly more than conventional for the second quarter of 2020. ( File Photo )

Organic fresh produce sales exceeded $1.7 billion in the second quarter, a 17% increase from the same period in 2019.

Conventional fresh produce sales during the second quarter increased 16.1%, according to a news release. Fresh food at retail overall has seen massive sales growth compared to last year as states reimpose restrictions on restaurants amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Organic produce dollar sales were up 18.4% in April, 16.3% in May and 14.4% in June,

“While we see some moderated growth in organic sales in the second quarter of 2020, consumers continue to follow established pre-COVID-19 organic fresh produce purchasing habits despite the negative economic impacts of the pandemic,” Matt Seeley, CEO of the Organic Produce Network, said in the release.

Organic produce sales continue to be heavily concentrated. Packaged salads account for 20% of all organic dollars, and bananas account for nearly 20% of all organic volume.

“Packaged salads continue to be the organic sales driver, with bananas the clear volume leader,” Steve Lutz, senior vice president of insights and innovation at Category Partners, said in the release. “From a space-to-sales perspective there is likely no other organic item in the produce department that can match the consumer purchase rate of bananas.

“Three categories clearly drive volume growth — bananas, apples and carrots — with those three commodities driving 46% of all incremental volume during the second quarter of this year,” Lutz said.

 
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