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US organic food sales surge 7.7% (while conventional foods manage just 1% growth)

4 commentsBy Elaine Watson , 21-Apr-2011

US sales of organic food and drink surged 7.7 percent to $28.6bn in 2010, significantly ahead of the sluggish (<1 percent) growth in the mainstream food market, with some segments up more than 30 percent, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Organic food sales now account for four percent of total food sales in the US, added OTA chief executive Christine Bushway.

"Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods. The good news is that even as the economic recovery crawls forward, the organic industry is thriving, and hiring.”

Recruitment levels reflect growing confidence

Four out of 10 organic companies surveyed by the OTA said they had taken on more full-time staff in 2010, while almost half (46 percent) expected to hire more staff in 2011 than in 2010.

The top performers were fruits and vegetables (39.7 percent of total organic food value, and nearly 12 percent of all US fruit and vegetable sales), which notched up an 11.8 percent rise in sales to nearly $10.6bn in 2010. Organic dairy posted nine percent growth to $3.9bn, and now accounts for almost six percent of the total US market for dairy products, revealed the OTA.

Organic dietary supplements up 7.4 percent

Meanwhile, sales of organic dietary supplements were also up a healthy 7.4 percent to $681m, said Bushway.

“Organic sales growth continued to outpace total sales of comparable conventional food and non‐food items, which continued a flat to downward trend in 2010. Organic food share has grown to four percent of total food sales.”

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4 comments (Comments are now closed)

Another Perspective

Of course the OTA is out to paint a rosy picture of organics. Curiously, organics are significantly down in the United Kingdom. In an article from Washington State: The number of certified organic producers, organic acreage and farmgate sales in Washington state all declined in 2010 according to data gathered by the Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources. CSANR Sustainable Agriculture Specialist David Granatstein and Research Associate Elizabeth Kirby co-authored the just-completed profile titled “Current Status of Organic Agriculture in Washington State.” They found that the number of certified producers in the state declined by 18 in 2010 to 735. Certified organic land area, including double-cropped acreage, dropped by six percent to just under 102,000 acres. The declines were seen in both eastern and western Washington. The study results showed that acreage devoted to organic forage and vegetable crops each dropped by 15 percent. The vegetable decreases came in green beans, potatoes, onions and sweet corn, all of which were in decline for the third year in a row. Organic apple and cherry acreage also declined slightly in 2010. There were seven fewer certified organic dairies in 2010 with 5,000 fewer dairy animals and an accompanying reduction in forage land. The study also revealed that more existing organic farmers do not intend to continue their organic production in the future. Despite the OTA's self promotion of organics, perhaps the information from Washington is a more accurate depiction of what's happening in America with regards to organics.

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Posted by Honest Organic
06 May 2011 | 21h27

Organic food trade increase

Organic food worth far more than cost in better health now and in the future for all who know the benefits

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Posted by Harry
02 May 2011 | 22h09

Fair Compare

The point is that even as bad as the economy is that people are still spending the money on organics and caring what we eat. We as manufacturers need to keep supporting that business.

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Posted by Tera
26 April 2011 | 17h57

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