US Organic Market Growth Steady and Healthy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 17, 2012)—Driven by consumer choice, the U.S. organic industry grew by 9.5 percent overall in 2011 to reach $31.5 billion in sales. Of this, the organic food and beverage sector was valued at $29.22 billion, according to findings from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2012 Organic Industry Survey.

“The U.S. organic sector continues to show steady and healthy growth, growing overall by 9.5 percent during 2011, and, for the first time, surpassing the $30 billion mark,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director and CEO.

She added, “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.”

Overall organic product sales growth of 9.5 percent continued to outpace total sales of comparable conventionally produced food and non-food items, which experienced 4.7 percent growth. The growth in organic sales is proof the consumer is willing to pay for value-added products.

Organic food sales experienced 9.4 percent growth in 2011. The easing of the recession, consumer price inflation due to input price increases, and consumers’ increasing desire for convenience products were all factors that elevated growth for the year. The organic food sector grew by $2.5 billion during 2011, with the fruit and vegetable category contributing close to 50 percent of those new dollars. The fastest-growing sector was the meat, fish & poultry category, posting 13 percent growth over 2010 sales, but still remaining the smallest of the eight organic food categories.

Organic food sales now represent 4.2 percent of all U.S. food sales, up from 4 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, organic non-food sales, which reached $2.2 billion in 2011, experienced strong 11 percent growth, while total comparable non-organic items grew only 5 percent.

Prospects for 2012 and 2013, as indicated through the 2012 survey results, indicate that organic food and non-food sales will continue to sustain growth levels of nine percent or higher. Click here to see the infographic.

“With 94 percent 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 Bushway.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

Crumbl may be the next frozen yogurt, or the next Krispy Kreme

The Bottom Line: With word that the chain’s unit volumes took a nosedive last year, its future, and that of its operators, depends on what the brand does next.

Technology

4 things we learned in a wild week for restaurant tech

Tech Check: If you blinked, you may have missed three funding rounds, two acquisitions, a “never-before-seen” new product and a bold executive poaching. Let’s get caught up.

Financing

High restaurant menu prices mean high customer expectations

The Bottom Line: Diners are paying high prices to eat out at all kinds of restaurants these days. And they’re picking winners and losers.

Trending

More from our partners