Sales of organic products in the U.S. rose to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year’s $31.5 billion and the fastest growth rate in five years, according to data released May 15 by the Organic Trade Assn. (OTA). Most but not all of that figure is food.
Organic food sales by category:
- Fruits and vegetables, sales of $11.6 billion, up 15 percent. More than 10 percent of the fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. are now organic, the association reported.
- Dairy, sales of $4.9 billion, up 8 percent
- Packaged and prepared foods, $4.8 billion sales, up 10 percent.
- Beverages, $4 billion, up 5 percent.
- Breads and grains, $3.8 billion, up 12 percent.
- Snack foods, $1.7 billion, up 15 percent.
- Condiments, $830 million, up 17 percent (the biggest growth rate).
- Meat, poultry and fish, $675 million, up 11 percent.
And the hunger for organic products is not expected to ease any time soon, says the association, predicting growth rates over the next two years will at least keep pace with the 2013 clip and even slightly exceed it.
“The U.S. organic market is experiencing strong expansion, with organic food and farming continuing to gain in popularity," said Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of OTA. "Consumers are making the correlation between what we eat and our health, and that knowledge is spurring heightened consumer interest in organic products.”
Organic food sales in 2013, at $32.3 billion, accounted for roughly 92 percent of the total organic sales. Non-food organic products — including flowers, fiber, household products and pet food — are currently a very small part (almost $2.8 billion) of the total organic market, but are making quick inroads -- sales have jumped nearly eight-fold since 2002, and have almost doubled in market share.
A niche industry in the huge food sector just a decade ago, consumer purchases of organic food first broke through the $30 billion mark in 2012 and now account for more than 4 percent of the $760 billion annual food sales in the U.S. The growth rate of organic food sales, which has averaged almost 10 percent every year since 2010, has dwarfed the average annual growth of just over 3 percent in total food sales during that same period.