Americans bought a record $ 56.5 billion in organic groceries last year, up nearly 13 percent from 2019 when shoppers flooded grocery stores from home orders during the pandemic, a survey said was released on Tuesday by the Organic Trade Association. Certified organic food made up almost 6 percent of food sales.
“The pandemic has caused sudden changes in our entire lives,” said Laura Batcha, executive director of OTA. “We ate at home with our families and often cooked three meals a day.”
The OTA said grocery sales “are expected to remain on a strong growth path in 2021,” though not as fast as 2020, the fastest rate in a decade. The survey was published as part of the Natural Products West Expo.
Sales of organic fruits and vegetables were $ 20.4 billion. This equates to more than a third of all organic food sales and 15 percent of all fruits and vegetables sold in the country. Organic meat, poultry, and seafood sales rose 25 percent to $ 1.7 billion in 2020. Covid-19 outbreaks at packaging plants slowed U.S. meat production last spring and resulted in high meat prices for most of the year.
Consumers are likely to continue their pandemic of shopping online and preparing meals for themselves, a grocery trade group said, hailing “this new era of home-eating”. According to FMI-The Food Industry Association, 58 percent of shoppers eat at home more often and 49 percent say they cook their own meals more often than before the pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States bought groceries online in the past year, and 29 percent of online shoppers ordered weekly.