A product breakdown of the organic food sector shows that the fruit and vegetable category continue to lead the sector with $11.6 billion in sales, up 15%. With more than 10% of the fruits and vegetables sold in the United States now organic, the $1.5 billion in new sales of organic fruits and vegetable represented 46% of the organic sector’s $3.3 billion in new dollars.
The relatively small organic condiments category posted the strongest growth, at 17%, to reach sales of $830 million. Also showing double-digit growth were the organic snack food sector, up 15% to $1.7 billion; organic bread and grain sales up 12% to $3.8 billion; organic meat, poultry and fish sales up 11% to $675 million, and the rapidly expanding organic packaged and prepared food sector up 10% to $4.8 billion.
But as demand for organic grows, the industry is facing some critical challenges.
Farmland in the United States is not being converted to organic at the pace needed to meet the growing demand for organic, OTA said. Supplies of organic feed and organic grain have been tight and costly, which could limit growth especially in the organic dairy and meat sectors.
There is also a lingering confusion among consumers about just what organic means. The message of the organic can be lost next to the presence of “natural” products and the long debate around GMOs.
For information on how to purchase the full report, go to https://www.ota.com/bookstore/14.html.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.