Organic produce sales in the U.S. rose 5 percent YOY in 2019 and represented almost 10 percent of overall produce sales, per the Organic Produce Network (OPN).
OPN’s 2019 Organic Produce Performance report divided U.S. states into four regions, listing highest to lowest in order of population per the U.S. Census Bureau (million people, rounded): South (126), West (78), Midwest (68), and Northeast (56).
The report notes that Western states remained the strongest organic market in the U.S. The West region had about 10 million more people than the Midwest region, but Western consumers bought over 271 million more organic produce units than Midwestern consumers in 2019, nearly double.
With over 48 million more people than the West region, Southern consumers bought the most organic produce overall in 2019, at over 648 million units sold. Despite having the lowest population in the study, the Northeast region eclipsed the South by almost 19 million units sold.
The Northeast showed the strongest growth of the four regions in 2019, with sales by value up 6.3 percent and by volume up 6.1 percent YOY. Interestingly, the Northeast also happens to be the most expensive region for organic produce, followed by the West, South, and finally the Midwest.
Perhaps the most important findings in this report are the price variances between organic and conventional produce across the country. Organic cucumbers, lettuces, mixed vegetables, potatoes, and tomatoes were all priced at least 100 percent greater than their conventional substitutes.
On the low end, organic carrots, apples, mushrooms, and bananas were marked up less than 40 percent compared to their conventional substitutes.