Consumer-driven U.S. Organic Market Surpasses $31 Billion in 2011

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As predicted by Garden Media Group, the Organic Trade Association’s 2012 Organic Industry Survey shows continued growth

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Consumers are increasingly engaged and discerning when they shop, making decisions based on their values and awareness about health and environmental concerns.

Garden Media Group predicted the rise of organic gardening in 2004 and according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2012 Organic Industry Survey, the market has continued to grow!

That comes as good news for organic farmers and producers as the consumer-driven U.S. organic market surpasses $31 billion!

“With 94% of organic operations nationwide planning to maintain or increase employment in 2012, the organic sector will continue to fuel jobs, rural economies and consumer choice,” said Christine Bushway, executive director of Organic Trade Association (OTA.)

A few findings from the 2012 Organic Industry Survey indicate that consumers are willing to pay a little more for organics.

+Organic sales of all products had a 9.5% ($2.5 billion) increase in 2011, while conventionally produced products (both food and non-food items) had a 4.7% increase.
+Organic food sales now represent 4.2% of all U.S. food sales, up from 4% in 2010.
+The fruit and vegetable category accounted for nearly 50% of those new dollars in 2011
+The organic food and beverage sector had sales of $29.22 billion in 2011, a 9.4% increase over 2010
+There are 17,600 certified organic farms, ranches and businesses in the U.S.
+Seventy-eight percent of U.S. families report they buy organic.
+More than half of parents surveyed report they have a high level of trust for certified USDA organic products.

Bushway adds, “Consumers are increasingly engaged and discerning when they shop, making decisions based on their values and awareness about health and environmental concerns. For them, it matters whether foods are genetically engineered, or produced using practices that are good for their families. Price is still an issue, but with the wide availability of private label products and many venues for organic products, they have many choices for where to shop and a variety of products from which to choose.”

This trend towards using environmentally friendly products and technology coupled with organically healthy foods and practices is a strong indication that the movement is no longer a trend.

Not to mention, with the increase of Whole Foods stores, farmers markets and CSA's (community supported agriculture), organic food no longer sits on the peripheral of the supermarkets. It's here to stay.

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Katie Dubow
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