- Gross sales of natural meals leaped 12.8% to hit a document $56.4 billion in 2020, according to the Natural Commerce Affiliation. This compares to a 4.6% development fee in 2019. Complete gross sales of natural fruit and greens reached $20.4 billion in 2020, pushed by a greater than 28% soar in frozen. Gross sales of natural meat, poultry and fish rose practically 25% to succeed in $1.7 billion.
- Amongst pantry items, gross sales of natural flours and baked items elevated 30% as shoppers embraced dwelling cooking. Condiment gross sales rose 31% on robust demand for sauces and spices. The latter noticed a 51% development fee, greater than tripling its tempo from 2019.
- In 2020, practically 6% of the meals offered in the USA was licensed natural, in keeping with the commerce group. Whilst extra shoppers go to eating places within the months forward, the OTA expects habits corresponding to dwelling cooking and well being consciousness to carry as tailwinds for natural.
For natural meals, the previous yr supplied practically the best atmosphere for development.
“The one factor that constrained development within the natural meals sector was provide,” Angela Jagiello, director of training and insights for the OTA, mentioned in a written assertion. She famous this held true throughout all natural classes. Jagiello oversaw the survey, which was performed on behalf of OTA by Vitamin Enterprise Journal between January and March. She mentioned provide was stretched when it comes to components, packaging and labor.
The indicators that the pandemic would supercharge natural meals development have been there early on. In spring 2020, the OTA reported a greater than 20% soar in gross sales for natural produce. Whereas frozen stays the dominant drive for natural fruit and greens, contemporary nonetheless posted an almost 11% gross sales improve to succeed in $18.2 million in full-year 2020. In the present day, natural owns greater than 15% share of whole produce gross sales in the USA, in keeping with the OTA, or $20.4 billion for all the pieces from contemporary to frozen to dried.
The OTA numbers echo the expansion development seen in knowledge from the Natural Produce Community and Class Companions, which measured a 14.2% soar in natural produce gross sales in 2020, in comparison with a ten.7% improve for typical produce.
Whereas the OTA doesn’t anticipate natural meals’ double-digit development fee to proceed in 2021, it mentioned the tempo ought to stay robust. The group is assured that buyers will proceed to prepare dinner extra at dwelling post-pandemic than they did earlier than. A January survey performed by market analysis agency Hunter discovered 71% of shoppers anticipate to prepare dinner extra at dwelling after the pandemic ends.
The piqued curiosity in wholesome consuming total throughout COVID-19 additionally buoyed this development. One in three shoppers mentioned they ate more healthy in 2020, in keeping with a survey by the Worldwide Meals Info Council. Natural meals tends to have a well being halo amongst shoppers, regardless of an absence of information backing up that notion.
“What’s come out of COVID is a renewed consciousness of the significance of sustaining our well being, and the essential function of nutritious meals. For increasingly shoppers, which means natural,” Laura Batcha, CEO and govt director of OTA, mentioned in a written assertion.
Shoppers are additionally coping with larger meals costs popping out of the pandemic. Will increase have been rippling throughout the broader meals and beverage panorama from larger freight, transportation and manufacturing prices and different pandemic-related bills. Some query shoppers’ willingness to pay the upper value tags.
Even final yr, when produce gross sales spiked early within the pandemic, the OTA cautioned shoppers could develop unwilling to pay the premium that comes with the licensed natural label. A 2017 survey by Mintel discovered solely about one-fifth of shoppers agreed natural meals was value the additional price.
Simply as 2020 offered practically perfect development situations for natural meals, this yr could actually take a look at the gross sales case for the phase, as extra shoppers enterprise out of the home to eat — and encounter larger meals costs on the grocery retailer.