Newsroom & Financials

Surging Demand for Organic Produce Widens US Supply Gap

Posted 6/8/2017

Produce processors and retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure sufficient supplies of organic produce, as domestic demand continues to rise at a pace that exceeds production, according to a new report from CoBank. The dollar value of U.S. organic produce sales doubled from 2011 to 2015 and annual sales now amount to $5.5 billion. Currently, 15 percent of all U.S. produce sales are organic. While organic acres have nearly doubled over the last decade, that pace of supply-side growth has been sluggish relative to demand.

“Sales of organic fruit, vegetables and nuts have increased dramatically in recent years and this growth trend will continue,” said Christine Lensing, CoBank senior economist, specialty crops. “More than half of U.S. households are now purchasing some organic produce. But for a variety of reasons, production has not been keeping pace with demand and the supply gap is widening.”

More domestic growers would need to transition to organic to bridge the supply gap. But Lensing concludes that given current consumption trends and the length of the required transition period, organic produce supplies will likely remain under pressure over the next three to five years. Read more...

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