Here’s a look at how specific organic categories performed in 2021, as highlighted in the Washington, D.C.-based Organic Trade Association’s 2022 Organic Industry Survey:
Fruits and veggies: Organic fruits and vegetables accounted for 15% of the total product market and brought in more than $21 billion in revenues. This was a 4.5% increase over 2020. Fresh produce and dried beans, fruits and vegetables drove the category, while frozen and canned foods declined slightly as consumers cut back on pantry loading.
Dairy, eggs and meat: After hitting the highest growth rate in more than a decade in 2020, the organic dairy and egg category unsurprisingly leveled off in 2021. These segments remained relatively flat through 2021, although they still outperformed 2019 sales by nearly 11%. Meanwhile, sales of organic meat, including poultry, livestock and seafood, increased by 2.5%, representing nearly $2 billion in annual sales. Organic poultry was the strongest performer, with 4.7% growth.
Packaged and prepared foods, including snacks: Packaged and prepared organic foods experienced an overall decline of around 5% in 2021, representing a shift away from pantry loading and toward more measured purchasing patterns. Organic baby food, which saw more than 11% growth, was the biggest bright spot. Snacks saw healthy growth of 6%, with nutrition bars reaching nearly 15% growth.
Beverages: Organic beverages experienced strong growth of 8%, thanks in part to manufacturers’ ability to adjust quickly to shifting consumer needs and habits. Organic coffee topped the beverage performance chart, with more than 5% growth.
Breads and grains: Organic bread and grain sales tapered off slightly in 2021 as the pandemic boom subsided, but sales were still strong, at $6.2 billion overall. Frozen and fresh breads, the largest subcategory, saw a modest increase of 1.6%.
Nonfoods: Fiber, supplements and personal care products were the dominant performers in nonfoods: Each saw growth rates of between 5.5% and 8.5% in 2021.