Driven by consumer choice, the organic industry in the USA grew by 9.5 % overall in 2011 to reach US$ 31.5 billion in sales. Of this, the organic food and beverage sector was valued at US$ 29.22 billion, while the organic non-food sector reached US$ 2.2 billion, according to findings from the Organic Trade Association’s 2012 Organic Industry Survey. (Picture: OTA's info-graphic).
The overall organic product sales growth continued to outpace total sales of comparable conventionally produced food and non-food items, which experienced 4.7 % growth. The organic food sector grew by US$ 2.5 billion during 2011, with the fruit and vegetable category contributing close to 50 % over 2010 sales, but still remaining the smallest of the eight organic food categories. Organic food sales now represent 4.2 % of all food sales in the USA, up from 4 % in 2010. 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.
Meanwhile, organic non-food sales, which reached US$ 2.2 billion in 2011, experienced a 11 % growth, while total comparable non-organic items grew only 5 %. 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 9 % or higher. “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,” according to OTA's Executive Director Ms Christine Bushway. (Picture: Organics at Safeway)