The state of North American organic produce: a closer look at trends and issues

After years of slowing, the growth rate of retail organic food sales increased threefold in 2020 in the aftermath of the pandemic. However, it is expected to slow down once again but remain higher than the pre-pandemic rate.

The impacts of the pandemic on retail prices, volumes, and premiums differed per product, depending on the degree of convenience for at-home meal preparation and other supply chain-specific factors. Given these differing impacts, supply expansion should be tailored to the product. However, in the case of most fruits, caution is warranted.

In a relevant development, a US district court ruled that soil-free farms can legally keep their organic label, strengthening their momentum. For some major products, the gains from an organic label exceed those from a local label. Moreover, year-round deliveries can be optimized to take advantage of premium seasonality. All of these factors will give soil-free farms a competitive advantage.

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