US organic sales break through $35 billion mark

The latest survey on the US organic industry by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) has revealed that organic sales now account for over 4% of annual food sales in America.

In 2013, sales rose to $35.1 billion, up 11.5% on 2012, and this growth shows no sign of slowing, with the OTA predicting the same or even higher growth rates over the next two years.

Organic food sales accounted for about 92% of total organic sales in 2013, at $32.3 billion and while non-food organic products are still a very small part of the total market, total sales have risen nearly eight-fold to $2.8 billion since 2002, almost doubling their market share.

The fruit and vegetable category still leads the organic sector in the US with sales of $11.6 billion (an increase of 15%), meaning that over 10% of fruit and veg sales in the US are now organic.

Commenting on the findings, Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of OTA, said: “The US organic market is experiencing strong expansion, with organic food and farming continuing to gain in popularity. Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products.”

The survey also found that there is still some confusion among consumers about exactly what organic means. “The entire organic industry needs to rally around helping consumers better understand and appreciate all the values that certified organic brings to the table,” said Batcha. “Consumer education is critical to grow the organic industry.”

Soil Association policy director, Peter Melchett, commented: “This startling growth in the largest organic market in the world is wonderful news for everyone involved in organic farming and food. With organic having lower greenhouse gas emissions, less pollution, less energy use and more wildlife, it is good news for the planet too. US organic farming bans GM, it is bad news for the GM industry, already facing their first ever backlash against GM crops and food in the US.”