As expected, organic produce continued it’s ascent in importance for Thanksgiving food purchases, with retailers raking in 11 percent more dollars and selling 13 percent more pounds of organic produce than last year’s Thanksgiving, according to research firm Nielsen.
Working in conjunction with the Organic Produce Network, Nielsen data indicates products enjoying higher than normal sales include Thanksgiving staples such as herbs/spices, carrots, celery and potatoes, but also less traditional ingredients like grapes, strawberries and avocados.
Also of special note, organic romaine dollars plunged 39 percent---equal to conventional romaine lettuce sales declines----during the Thanksgiving week, the result of nearly week long ban on the sales and production of romaine products and salad items.
As retailers turn to the upcoming December holiday season, the product mix remains largely the same in terms of contribution to organic produce sales between Thanksgiving and the December holidays; the order, however, does change as does the degree of importance. Blueberries is the lone newcomer by replacing grapes on the top 10 list.
Organic accounted for 9 percent of all produce sales during the three weeks ending January 6, 2018. Berries, notably blueberries and strawberries, increased sales the most compared to the prior year. Other key organic products with significant growth included herbs/spices, mushrooms, avocados, broccoli and squash.
“As organic continues its movement toward mainstream purchasing, it's important to capitalize on its growing importance at holidays when sales continue to grow year after year,” said Matt Lally, associate director, Nielsen Fresh Growth & Strategy.
Understanding trendy menu items for the upcoming holiday season and planning assortment appropriately could deliver the same growth experienced at Thanksgiving which would be a gift to everyone.
Source: Nielsen xAOC Total Food View, week ending 11/24/18; 3 weeks ending 1/6/18