For more information, contact: Holly Givens (413-774-7511, Ext. 18)
Trends: Organic Trade Association Envisions
Organic Industry of the Future
GREENFIELD, Mass. (Dec. 1, 2005) - As its 20th anniversary year draws to a close, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), North America's voice for the organic business community, is predicting a robust future for organic products. This conclusion is based on a survey* of industry research organizations and long-time member companies conducted late this year by OTA, which asked participants to envision the organic industry in the year 2025.
The following are a few of the predictions and expectations:
- The organic industry can be expected to continue to grow and thrive at a sturdy rate over the next 20 years, but at a slower pace than the current 20 percent average annual growth in sales.
- By 2025, 14 percent of the average U.S. household's budget will be devoted to purchasing organic products.
- The average consumer household in 2025 will buy organic products on a regular basis. These will include food items as well as organic clothing, household cleaning products, and personal care items.
- Sales of organic fiber and textiles will continue to grow and will make up six to seven percent of all U.S. clothing by the year 2025.
- Organic products by 2025 will be sold anywhere and everywhere. Increased sales in restaurants can be expected.
- Increases in organic sales and acceptance will result in increased U.S. organic acreage.
- Younger shoppers will continue to be interested in organic foods, particularly as Gen Xers pass down their belief systems. Ethnic shoppers, including Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans, will continue to be more likely to buy organic products in proportion to their representation in the general population.
- Government support of organic agriculture will be crucial to maintain the industry's growth potential. The U.S. government will need to support farmers in their transition to organic production, and to enforce the standards to minimize consumer confusion.
What types of organic foods will be most popular?
In 2025, organic meat, dairy products, alcohol, and "stage of life" foods (those consumed during pregnancy, nursing, infancy, puberty, and senior years) will be most popular, according to survey respondents. Because hectic lifestyles will continue to be the norm, convenience, ready-to-eat and prepared foods will proliferate. Survey respondents also predicted growing interest in organic items that mimic conventional food brands and in organic products perceived by consumers as providing health benefits.
Among the challenges cited were consumer confusion about definitions around the organic labels, unbalanced governmental support and promotion of conventional farming methods at the expense of organic agriculture, and the acceptance of the value of organic packaged products versus perishables in the marketplace.
Onto an even brighter future
Survey participants predicted that shopping for organic items will be commonplace in 2025, and it will no longer be considered on the fringe to "go organic." From certified organic cream-filled snack cakes to pets and edible packaging, anything and everything could have an organic version 20 years from now.
Overall, survey respondents and OTA believe that everyday use of organic products of all kinds will be both accepted and routine by the year 2025. Through both strong consumer and government support, the organic industry will continue to thrive and grow in the innovative and unique way that's all its own.
Formed in 1985 as the Organic Foods Production Association of North America (OFPANA) by a group of individuals determined to build a trusted identity for organic products, OTA today has over 1,600 members. OTA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public, and the economy. As such, the association draws all segments of the organic industry to share information, create standards of excellence and promote organic products.
Today, millions of consumers now purchase organic products regularly, and their choice is based largely on the success of the organic industry's ability to promote and guarantee the integrity of the organic label. OTA's leadership, promotion, educational initiatives and protection have been integral to establishing this trust.
When buying organic products, consumers are showing support for organic farmers and practices that help build healthy soil and a healthier environment for the planet.
2005 Survey participants included the Natural Marketing Institute, Nutrition Business Journal, Organic Valley, Packaged Facts, Smucker Quality Beverages, SPINS, Stonyfield Farm and The Hartman Group. A complete copy of the study is available online at www.ota.com/pics/documents/Forecasting2005.pdf.
The mission of the Organic Trade Association is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA envisions organic products becoming a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. As a membership-based business association, the Organic Trade Association focuses on the organic business community in North America. OTA's more than 1,600 members include farmers, processors, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more. For further information, visit OTA's web site at http://www.ota.com/.
December 1, 2005
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