OPN Connect Newsletter 5 · March 31, 2017

Weekly Top 5: Organic News You Need to Know

1. It’s Happened Again -- Fruits and Veggies Top Organic Sales in U.S. 

Organic sales in the U.S. have experienced double-digit growth most every year since 2000, when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) set National Organic Standards.  USDA’s Economic Research publication, Amber Waves, estimates home expenditures for organic food has doubled since 2005 and accounts for about five percent of total food purchases.  And while all organic food sales have grown in the past decade, fresh produce is still the top category and accounts for 40 percent of organics sold.  The second top category, dairy, remains around 15 percent.  Click for more.  

Nature Safe

2. Is Sun Basket Planning an IPO?

Organic meal delivery company Sun Basket  is working with investment banks Bank of America Corp and Jefferies, LLC on an potential IPO offering.  Founded in 2014 by technology executive Adam Zbar and San Francisco chef Justine Kelly, a SunBasket  IPO could value the company between $500 million and $1 billion. 

Its meals include gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian options.  For more, visit Reuters.   

Organic Ag Products

3. Organic in More Than 80 Percent U.S. Kitchens  

New Nielsen findings released by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) show organic foods are now in the kitchens of 82.3 percent of American households, including households in rural states like Georgia and North Dakota.   

For more, visit the Organic Trade Association website

Ocean Mist

4. Organic Vegetable Prices Sky High on Short Supplies

The organic row crop vegetable market remains in very short supply, with overall market expected to remain volatile and high priced for at least the next three-four weeks. 

With Yuma, AZ production winding down over the next 10 days, organic broccoli and cauliflower availability is very tight, with prices in the $35-40/carton range.   Organic romaine hearts supplies are very light, with strong demand across the country.  While limited production of broccoli and cauliflower has started in the Salinas Valley, other items will be transitioning from the Arizona desert to the Salinas Valley the first week of April.

According to Doug Classen, sales manager, for Salinas-based The Nunes Company, “Unseasonal hot weather in the desert brought forward all commodities to finish as much as one to three weeks ahead of schedule. The winter rains throughout California kept some plantings from getting in the ground on schedule. The combination of these events has caused very difficult and volatile market conditions that are expected to last into May," he said.

Overall condition and quality---include size and weight----on all items will continue to be challenged from wet, rainy weather in February and March.

5. You Can Still Catch Organicology Workshops on Organic Seed 

If you missed the Organicology Conference in Portland, OR, this February, you can still catch three workshops on seed.  Thanks to eOrganic, part of USDA Extension Service, in collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance, visit their website to access the following workshops: 

  • Got Seed – a workshop focused on the importance of organic seed to the success of the broader organic food trade  
  • Getting the Most Out of On-Farm Variety Trials  - how to conduct seed variety trials  
  • In Celebration of Seed – stories from passionate seed stewards dedicated to expanding biodiversity about protecting human rights to save seed. 

 Steve Markovich, 48 year produce veteran, former head produce buyer Dominick’s, Chicago, Illinois, retiring today:

“Never would I have thought that organics would be this big today. When we started selling organics at Dominick’s in the late 80’s, we were torn on how to merchandise organics, and did not know what we were doing. But over time and with the right user friendly information we became educated and started to grow our organic business. Today, consumers are more educated than ever about the food they eat and are demanding more organics I’m glad I had a small hand in this movement.” - Steve Markovich


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