While organic food still has a long way to go before it officially becomes mainstream, as only 5.7% of the food sold in the United States is now deemed to be organic, positive signs abound, according to a new survey released by the Organic Trade Association.
The survey found that the U.S. organic market set a new record for sales in 2018, reaching the $52.5 billion mark, even at a time when the newly formed Bayer-Monsanto mega-corporation continues to throw its weight around in the GMOs and pesticides industry.
Overall, organic food sales were up 6.3% from the previous year, while both the organic food market and organic non-food market set new records.
In total, organic food sales jumped 5.9% to $47.9 billion, while sales organic non-food items saw even bigger growth with a jump of 10.6 recorded, for $4.6 billion in sales altogether.
The report also noted that organic sales have more than doubled since reaching $24.9 billion in 2010.
A chart of organic sales growth in the U.S. over the past nine years can be seen below:
Other Highlights of the Organic Sales Growth Report
Fruits and vegetables are among the most popular items in the organic food market, accounting for 36.3% of all organic food sales while making up nearly twice the rate of 10 years ago.
Organic dairy and egg sales slowed, however, rising only .8% to $6.5 billion in 2018.
Organic fiber sales have continue to rise in recent years, jumping from $200 million to $1.8 billion in 2017.
Over 27,000 organic operations are currently active nationwide.
Organic Standards Remain Focus Moving Forward
While the news may be music to the ears of organic food supporters, there is still much work to be done according to many organic food advocates, including Organic Trade Association CEO Laura Batcha, who wrote an editorial titled ‘Let Organic Be Organic.’
According to Batcha, the organic sector has come together 20 times in the last 10 years to agree to consensus-based recommendations to strengthen organic standards, but not a single one of these recommendations has made it through the bureaucratic maze to become a final upgraded requirement.
“This is not a new problem; it is a decades-long problem,” she said, echoing the concerns of many organic farming pioneers and advocates.
“We want continuous improvement in organic standards to be defined in the law and regulations in order to maintain the value and the trust of the Organic seal in the marketplace, and to allow organic to continue fostering soil health, biodiversity, animal welfare and natural resource conservation,” Batcha also said, adding that the OTA is working with political leaders to ensure continuous improvement and accountability in organic standards.
As the organic industry continues to grow, the focus will be on the consumer to reward companies who are doing it the right way.
Time will tell whether organic standards can match sales growth, but it’s an undertaking that will require support from all levels of contributors, that much is for sure.
Thanks for reading! For more on the benefits of organic food and how it helps contribute to the lifespans and health of the world’s longest living people, check out the docu-series ‘The Human Longevity Project.’ The film is back for a final showing and can be viewed by clicking here, now through June 27!