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.”