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After a rough start, 2010 could prove to mark a significant sales turnaround for the U.S. organic industry. Sales at UNFI, Whole Foods, Hain Celestial and other companies entrenched in organic have all been up in recent months. But will it be enough to bring the industry as a whole back into double-digit revenue expansion?
Other organic companies on the rise, too
Smaller organic companies are seeing improvements, as well. “The market has been trending better for us,” said Addie Pobst, an import coordinator for the organic produce company CF Fresh. “Third quarter sales were very strong, up 30 percent over 3Q 2009.”
Fourth-quarter sales at CF Fresh have been weaker, mostly due to the short harvest of organic potatoes caused by an exceedingly wet growing season and continued competitiveness in the Washington apple market. “We anticipate that sales will pick up again in the early months of 2011 as domestic apple volumes begin to thin, and especially once the South American import season begins,” said Pobst, whose company sells the Viva Tierra brand of organic fruits from Chile and Argentina. “Domestic pear volumes are down, so we expect Argentine organic pears to be in high demand when they begin arriving in February.”
John Foraker, president and CEO of Annie’s Inc., told NewHope360 that his company is also experiencing improved sales growth, but at even higher levels. “Annie’s has seen very strong sales growth over the last year and, in particular, the last three to four months,” said Foraker, whose company sells a growing range of natural and certified organic snacks and meal component products. “Over the last nine months year to date, we are up about 25 percent, and over the recent three months, growth has been closer to 30 percent.”