Market Update 19th May 2023

“Organic has proven it can withstand short-term economic storms,” said Tom Chapman, chief executive officer of the Organic Trade Association. “Despite the fluctuation of any given moment, Americans are still investing in their personal health, and, with increasing interest, in the environment. Organic is the answer.”

Interesting data from the US market this week with the Organic Trade Board (the US version) publishing data about US organic market sales for 2022 and it makes some pretty impressive reading.  They report a 4% increase in sales to $61.7 billion and indicate that 15% of all fruit and veg sales are organic which is an amazing statistic and one we'd love in the UK.  This growth despite the inflationary impact and supply chain shocks are impressive and when one reads of egg sales growing by 11% and yoghurt sales up 12% it is difficult not to be a little envious.

However analysis behind the headlines shows that the picture may not be as rosy at the farmgate level as cash sales do not necessarily equate to volume growth.

For example, Dave Becker from the The Jacobsen explains, "if you purchased 100 cartons of organic eggs in 2022 at $4, you would have spent $400 on eggs. If you bought 110 cartons of organic eggs in 2021 at $3.5, your costs would be $385, and your sales would be recorded as showing an increase of 4% yearly."  

The conventional market continues to weaken this week as the International Grains Council increased its forecast showing the largest global crop of cereals.  Clearly markets are rebalancing with supply stimulated by the high values seen in 2022 and early 2023.  Organic values will reflect this slide and certainly near European markets are reportedly trading old crop wheat below £300 ex farm with one French trader reporting decertification of large French maize producers because of the low market price for the 2023 harvest.