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    Organic products experienced significant growth throughout 2020, with large increases in terms of sales and volumes. At the end of this period, they registered an increase of more than 14% over the previous year, this according to the 2020 Organic Product Performance Report published by the Organic Produce Network and its partners.

    Nielsen data showed that organic fresh produce sales in 2020 reached more than $ 8.5 billion, an increase from 2019 by more than $ 1 billion. Volume also increased in 2020, showing growth of 16%. Both gains outperformed conventionally grown produce, which was only up 9% in volume and just under 11% in value. The increase is attributed to changes in consumer buying habits that occurred as a result of the global COVID-19 Pandemic.

    “In the face of restaurant restrictions and closures and high supermarket sales as consumers turned to food at home, sales of fresh organic produce increased last year,” said Matt Seeley, Executive Director of Organic Produce Network.

    By volume, bananas remain at the top of the list, followed by apples, berries, and prepackaged salads. By value, prepackaged salads rank at the top of the leaderboard, with berries, apples, and herbs / spices in the row immediately behind.

    “The continued strength of organic fruit and vegetable sales through 2020 despite economic challenges related to the Pandemic,” said Steve Lutz, Category Partners senior vice president of knowledge and innovation on growth.

    Looking ahead

    Looking ahead, he added that “we expect to see the pandemic begin to subside in 2021, the market opportunities for fresh organic fruits and vegetables in the next year remain exceptional”.

    There are wide swaths in the US where organic fruits and vegetables have a limited distribution and a small assortment in many conventional supermarkets. According to Lutz, this suggests even more growth possibilities for various categories of these products.

    Implications for Costa Rica

    The organic food market is one of the most dynamic in the world, both in production (+ 36% CAGR 2011-17) and in retail sales (+ 11% variation 2016-17). In 2019, Costa Rica reported a total of 8,832 ha of certified organic area, this represented 1% less compared to 2018 and the main products were banana (39%), pineapple (20%), cocoa (17%), cane (9%) and coffee (6%).

    The greater consumption of organic products and the greater concern of consumers to improve their health as a result of the health crisis that is being experienced worldwide provides a possible opportunity for Costa Rican producers who are involved in this sector. Above all, those aimed at the United States and Europe, highly sophisticated markets willing to pay higher prices for this type of product.

    Remember that all products reported as organic must be certified under regulation 29782 of the Ministry of Agriculture. PROCOMER carried out a market study on the subject of organic products that it is important for the exporter to review.

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