Microgreens Industry: Profitability from Microgreens

Joanna Okedara
Table of Contents
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    Welcome to the world of microgreens, where tiny greens are making big profits! What are microgreens? And why the fuss about starting a microgreens business?

    Microgreens, also known as baby greens or vegetable confetti, are tiny, nutrient-packed versions of familiar wholesale produce, vegetables, and herbs, grown and harvested at a young age. These superfoods are a newer player in the food and beverage industry, but they have quickly gained popularity among health enthusiasts and restaurant businesses alike.

    While they may be small in size, the profitability of the microgreens industry is anything but small. In fact, it's one of the most lucrative and fast-growing industries in the produce wholesale sector, with a projected global market value of over $2 billion by 2026.

    Microgreens pack a powerful punch of nutrients and flavor, and their versatility makes them a sought-after ingredient for restaurant businesses, grocery stores, and catering businesses. But beyond their health benefits and culinary appeal, microgreens are proving to be a profitable industry with great potential for growth.

    In this blog post, we'll explore the profitability of the microgreens business industry and what it takes to succeed in this business. We'll also dive into the market demand for microgreens seeds, the production costs and pricing strategies, and the various produce industry trends that are available.


    Market Analysis for Microgreens Industry

    Key Takeaway: The microgreens industry has been experiencing significant growth in recent years, driven by increasing demand for locally-grown, fresh produce. Microgreens industry profitability is largely dependent on several factors, including market demand, production costs, and pricing strategies. 

    In this market analysis, we will examine each of these factors in more detail to gain a better understanding of the current state of the microgreens industry.

    Market Demand

    First, let's look at market demand. 

    The demand for microgreens has been steadily increasing over the past decade, and the trend is expected to continue. Consumers are becoming more interested in food safety, and healthy eating and are willing to pay a premium for locally-sourced, fresh produce. 

    Additionally, microgreens have gained popularity among high-end restaurants and gourmet chefs, which has driven up demand for high-quality, specialty microgreens.

    • Consumer Trends and Preferences

    Microgreens are increasingly popular among health-conscious consumers who are looking for fresh, nutrient-dense, and locally sourced produce. According to a survey by the National Restaurant Association, microgreens were among the top 10 food trends for 2022, with 79% of chefs saying that they plan to use more microgreens in their dishes.

    • Distribution Channels

    The food distribution channels for microgreens include direct-to-consumer sales through farmers' markets, grocery stores, and marketplaces online, as well as B2B sales processes to restaurants, cafes, and other food service providers. Many microgreens producers also offer to produce subscription box services, where customers can receive regular deliveries of fresh microgreens.

    Production Costs for Microgreens Industry

    Next, we'll consider production costs. 

    The cost of producing microgreens can vary depending on the specific crop and growing method used. It is generally considered to be a low-cost, high-margin industry. 

    Microgreens can be grown in a small space using hydroponic or soil-based methods, and they can be harvested within just a few weeks. This allows produce wholesalers to generate high yields and maximize profits.

    Here's a hypothetical case study on production costs for the microgreens industry:

    ABC Microgreens is a small wholesale food distribution business that grows and sells various types of microgreens to local restaurants and farmers' markets. They have been in operation for two years and have built a reputation for high-quality, fresh produce. The company currently has four employees and operates out of a small greenhouse.


    1. Seeds: The cost of seeds can vary depending on the type of microgreen, but on average ABC Microgreens spends $10 per pound of seeds. They use approximately 10 pounds of seeds per week, so their weekly seed cost is $100.
    2. Growing medium: ABC Microgreens uses a soilless growing medium made of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite. They purchase a 50-pound bag for $20, which lasts approximately four weeks. Therefore, their weekly growing medium cost is $5.
    3. Water and electricity: The greenhouse requires water and electricity to maintain a proper environment for the microgreens. On average, ABC Microgreens spends $50 per month on water and $100 per month on electricity. Their weekly cost for water and electricity is $37.50.
    4. Labor: ABC Microgreens has four employees who work 40 hours per week. Their hourly wage is $15. Therefore, their weekly labor cost is $2,400.
    5. eCommerce Packaging: ABC Microgreens packages its products in clamshell containers, which cost $0.20 each. They use approximately 200 clamshells per week, so their weekly packaging cost is $40.
    6. Miscellaneous: ABC Microgreens incurs other miscellaneous costs such as fuel for transporting their products, cleaning supplies, and equipment maintenance. On average, they spend $200 per week on these expenses.

    Total cost:

    Adding up all these costs, ABC Microgreens' total weekly production cost is:

    $100 (seeds) + $5 (growing medium) + $37.50 (water and electricity) + $2,400 (labor) + $40 (packaging) + $200 (miscellaneous) = $2,782.50

    In this hypothetical case study, we can see that the production costs for a microgreens business like ABC Microgreens can add up quickly. It's important for business owners to carefully track and manage their expenses to ensure that they are pricing their products appropriately and making a profit. 

    By understanding its production costs, ABC Microgreens can make informed decisions about its pricing strategy, marketing efforts, and overall efficient business systems and operations.

    Pricing Strategies

    Finally, pricing strategies are a key factor in determining the profitability of the microgreens industry. 

    Microgreens are often sold at a premium price point due to their high quality and short shelf life. However, producers must carefully balance pricing to ensure that their products are competitive in the market while still generating a healthy profit margin.


    Let’s look at a pricing case study for the same hypothetical ABC Microgreens company:

    ABC Microgreens is looking to develop a pricing strategy that will allow them to compete effectively in the market while maintaining profitability. They currently sell their microgreens to restaurants, grocery stores, and individuals, but they are unsure of the best way to price their products given the variability in costs and demand.

    What pricing solution do you think will work here?

    There are several pricing strategies that ABC Microgreens could consider, depending on their goals and market conditions:

    1. Cost-plus pricing: This strategy involves adding a markup to the cost of producing the microgreens to arrive at a selling price. The markup can be a percentage of the cost or a fixed amount. Cost-plus pricing ensures that the grower covers their costs and makes a profit, but it may not take into account market demand or competition.
    2. Value-based pricing: This strategy involves setting prices based on the perceived value or USP of the microgreens to the customer. For example, if the grower's microgreens are particularly flavorful or unique, they could charge a premium price to reflect this value. Value-based pricing requires a deep understanding of the customer's needs and preferences and may involve market research to determine what customers are willing to pay.
    3. Dynamic pricing: This strategy involves adjusting prices in real time based on market demand and supply. For example, if the grower has an excess supply of certain microgreens, they could lower the price to encourage sales. Conversely, if demand is high, they could raise the price to capture more profit. Dynamic pricing requires real-time data on supply and demand and may require the use of software or algorithms to adjust prices automatically.
    4. Subscription pricing: This strategy involves offering a subscription commerce service for customers to receive regular deliveries of microgreens at a discounted price. Subscription pricing can help the grower build a loyal customer base and ensure a steady stream of revenue, but it may require additional resources to manage subscriptions and deliveries.

    Given the variability in costs and demand, a combination of pricing strategies may be most effective for the microgreens grower. 

    • Cost-plus pricing can be used as a baseline to ensure that costs are covered and profits are made.
    • Value-based pricing can be used to capture additional value for particularly desirable microgreens. 
    • Dynamic pricing can be used to adjust prices in real time based on market conditions.
    • Subscription pricing can be used to build a loyal customer base and ensure a steady stream of revenue.

    By using a combination of pricing strategies, ABC Microgreens can remain competitive in the market while maintaining profitability and business resilience.

    Revenue Streams in the Microgreens Industry

    The microgreens industry has several revenue streams that contribute to the overall profitability of the business. 

    Here are some main revenue streams are:

    1. Retail Sales: The most common way to generate revenue in the microgreens industry is through direct retail sales to consumers. Microgreens are sold at farmers' markets, online, and in retail stores. This revenue stream depends on the demand for microgreens in the local area.
    2. Wholesale Sales: Wholesale sales are another source of revenue for microgreens growers. They sell their microgreens to restaurants, supermarkets, and other businesses. This revenue stream is dependent on the demand for microgreens in the region and the number of potential clients.
    3. Subscription Services: Some microgreens growers offer subscription services, which provide customers with regular deliveries of fresh microgreens. This revenue stream is more predictable and stable than the others.
    4. Value-Added Products: Some microgreens growers process their products into value-added products such as pesto or salad mixes. This allows them to sell their products for a higher price and diversify their revenue stream.

    Profitability Analysis for Microgreens Business

    Profitability analysis is a crucial component of any business strategy as it helps to evaluate the financial health of a company. Let’s look at the different methods of profitability analysis with a specific focus on the microgreens industry.

    Gross Profit Margin

    Gross profit margin is the percentage of revenue that remains after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It is an essential metric that helps to determine the efficiency of a company's production process and business process flow

    The formula for calculating gross profit margin is:

    Gross Profit Margin = (Revenue - COGS) / Revenue x 100

    In the microgreens industry, the cost of producing microgreens is relatively low compared to other crops. Thus, the gross profit margin for microgreens producers is typically high, ranging from 50-80%. 

    This indicates that the industry is profitable and efficient in terms of production.

    Net Profit Margin

    Net profit margin measures the percentage of revenue that remains after deducting all expenses, including COGS, operating expenses, and taxes. It provides a clear picture of a company's profitability after all expenses have been accounted for. 

    The formula for calculating net profit margin is:

    Net Profit Margin = (Revenue - COGS - Operating Expenses - Taxes) / Revenue x 100

    In the microgreens industry, the net profit margin can vary depending on factors such as the size of the business, location, and competition. However, most microgreens producers report a net profit margin of around 15-20%. 

    This shows that the industry is profitable and sustainable in the long run.

    Return on Investment

    Return on Investment (ROI) measures the profit or loss generated from an investment relative to the amount of money invested. It is a critical metric used by investors to determine the potential profitability of a company. 

    The formula for calculating ROI is:

    ROI = (Gain from Investment - Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment x 100

    In the microgreens industry, the ROI can vary depending on the size of the investment and the market demand for microgreens. However, most microgreens producers report a positive high ROI, indicating that the industry is a profitable investment opportunity.

    Break-even Analysis for Microgreens Industry

    Break-even analysis is a tool used to determine the minimum amount of revenue a company needs to generate to cover its costs. It is an essential metric used to evaluate the financial health of a company and determine its profitability. 

    The formula for calculating the break-even point is:

    Break-even Point = Fixed Costs / (Revenue per unit - Variable Costs per unit)

    In the microgreens industry, fixed costs can include expenses such as rent, labor, and equipment, while variable costs can include expenses such as seeds, soil, and water. The break-even point can vary depending on the size of the business and the price of microgreens. 

    However, most microgreens producers report a break-even point of around 100-200 units per week, indicating that the industry is profitable and sustainable in the long run.

    Competitive Landscape of the Microgreens Industry

    Competitive analysis is a crucial component of a business strategy. It aims to identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in a particular market. 

    In the microgreens industry, the competitive landscape is highly fragmented, with numerous small and medium-sized businesses competing for market share. Some of the major players in this industry include Gotham Greens, BrightFarms, Aerofarms, and Plenty.

    Gotham Greens is the leading player in the market, with a market share of around 10%. The company operates in the US and Canada and specializes in the production of leafy greens and herbs using hydroponic farming techniques.

    To conduct a competitive analysis, businesses must gather information on their competitors' products, services, pricing strategies, marketing techniques, and distribution channels. This information can help companies identify gaps in the market that they can exploit to gain a competitive advantage.

    SWOT analysis

    A SWOT analysis is another useful tool that businesses can use to assess their position in the market. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

    This analysis can help businesses identify areas where they excel, areas where they need to improve, and potential opportunities and threats in the market. 

    • Some strengths of the Microgreens industry include a growing demand for locally sourced and sustainable food, low start-up costs, and high-profit margins. 
    • Weaknesses may include a lack of industry standards, limited market reach, and difficulty in scaling production.
    • Opportunities in the Microgreens industry may include expanding into new markets, developing new products, and increasing production capacity. 
    • Threats may include new competitors entering the market, changes in consumer preferences, and the potential for regulatory changes.

    Porter's Five Forces Analysis

    Porter's Five Forces is a framework used to analyze the competitive forces in an industry. It can help businesses assess the potential profitability of a market by examining the five forces that influence competition: 

    • Supplier power: In the microgreens industry, supplier power is relatively low, as the inputs required for production are readily available and there are numerous suppliers. 
    • Buyer power: Buyer power is also relatively low, as the demand for microgreens is increasing, and there are few substitutes for the product.
    • Competitive rivalry: Competitive rivalry is high, as there are numerous small and medium-sized businesses competing for market share.
    • The threat of substitution: The threat of substitution is moderate, as there are some alternative products that may compete with microgreens, such as traditional leafy greens.
    • The threat of new entrants: The threat of new entrants is moderate to high, as the industry has low barriers to entry and there is a growing demand for locally sourced and sustainable food. 

    Market Size and Growth

    The microgreens industry is a rapidly growing sector in the agriculture industry, with increasing popularity in recent years. According to stats, the global microgreens market was valued at USD 1.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.8% from 2021 to 2028. 

    Some key factors driving the growth of the microgreens market include:

    • Increasing demand for healthy and fresh food products
    • Rising consumer awareness about the health benefits of microgreens,
    • Growing trend of urban farming

    Market Segmentation

    The microgreens market can be segmented based on product type, distribution channel, and geography. By product type, the market can be classified into vegetable microgreens, herb microgreens, and other microgreens. 

    Vegetable microgreens are expected to dominate the market due to their high nutritional value and increasing demand for healthy and fresh food products. By distribution channel, the market can be segmented into direct sales and distribution sales. Direct sales are expected to hold a larger market share due to the increasing trend of urban farming and home gardening.


    Industry Trends for Microgreens Industry

    The microgreens industry is a highly profitable business, with high demand and low production costs. Microgreens can be grown in a small area, and the production cycle is short, resulting in quick turnover and high profitability. 

    In addition, the growing trend of urban farming is expected to drive the growth of the microgreens market. This will result in higher profitability for the industry players. 

    However, the high competition in the market and the need for continuous innovation and differentiation may affect the profitability of the microgreens industry. Let’s look at some market trends in the industry for intending microgreens business owners.

    Emerging Market Trends

    One of the most significant growth opportunities for the microgreens industry is the emergence of new market trends. Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, and the demand for nutrient-dense foods is increasing. 

    This has created a massive demand for microgreens, which are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition, there is a growing trend towards sustainable and locally-sourced produce, which is driving the demand for locally-grown microgreens.

    Innovation and Technology Advancements

    Innovation and technology advancements have also opened up new growth opportunities for the microgreens industry. Advancements in hydroponic and vertical farming technology have enabled businesses to grow microgreens more efficiently and cost-effectively. 

    Businesses can also reduce water usage and increase crop yields. Additionally, new packaging and distribution methods have made it easier for businesses to transport and sell their products to consumers, regardless of location.

    Expansion into New Markets

    Another significant growth opportunity for the microgreens industry is expanding into new markets. While the demand for microgreens continues to grow in urban centers, there is still a largely untapped market in rural areas and smaller towns. 

    Businesses can capitalize on this opportunity by expanding their distribution network and marketing their products to these underserved markets.

    Diversification of Product Offerings

    Diversification of product offerings can also help businesses in the microgreens industry increase their profitability. While microgreens are the primary product, businesses can also offer other fresh produce items, such as herbs and edible flowers. 

    Additionally, businesses can develop value-added products, such as pre-packaged salad mixes, to meet the needs of busy consumers looking for healthy and convenient meal options.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Microgreens Industry

    How Big is the Microgreen Industry?

    The size of the microgreen industry is difficult to estimate as it is still a relatively new niche market. However, it has been growing steadily in recent years, with increasing demand from consumers and the food industry for locally grown, sustainable, and nutrient-dense foods.

    Are Microgreens Still Profitable?

    Yes. Microgreens can still be profitable, especially for small-scale growers who can sell directly to local markets or restaurants. However, profitability depends on various factors such as the cost of production, demand, competition, and eCommerce marketing strategies.

    Is the Microgreen Market Saturated?

    As the microgreen market continues to grow, there is some concern about market saturation in certain regions or for certain types of microgreens. However, there is still plenty of potential for growth and innovation in the industry.

    Are Microgreens Profitable 2023?

    It is difficult to predict whether microgreens will be profitable in 2023 as it depends on various factors such as market demand, competition, and economic conditions. However, as the trend towards healthier and more sustainable eCommerce foods continues, it is likely that the demand for microgreens will continue to grow, creating opportunities for profitable businesses in the industry.

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