Organic food sales in the United States broke through the US$40 billion barrier for the first-time last year according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2017 Organic Industry Survey released on May 24th.
Organic food sales increased by $3.3 billion, or 8.3%, from the previous year reaching $43 billion – having more than doubled since 2007. By contrast, the overall U.S. food market grew 0.6% in 2016. Organic food now makes up 5.3% of total U.S. food sales.
The largest category of organic food sales remains fruits and vegetables ($15.6 billion) growing by 8.4% and now accounts for around 15% of all produce Americans buy. Top-sellers were grab-and-go salads and ready-to-eat vegetables. Organic meat and poultry also did well growing by 17% in 2016 – the categories biggest-ever yearly gain – and achieved sales of $991 million.
Some organic niche categories showed strong sales in the OTA’s survey. For example, organic dips grew by 41% with $57 million in sales and organic spices grew by 35% to $193 million.
Sales of non-food products continued to climb as well with total sales of $3.9 billion taking the total U.S. organic market to around $47 billion in 2016 according to the OTA’s industry survey.
Laura Batcha, the OTA’s CEO and Executive Director, said: “Organic products of all sorts are now found in the majority of kitchens and households across our country. But the organic sector is facing challenges to continue its growth. We need more organic farmers in this country to meet our growing organic demand, and the organic sector needs to have the necessary tools to grow and compete on a level playing field. That means federal, state and local programmes that help support organic research, and provide the organic farmer with a fully equipped tool kit to be successful.”