There's More To Organic Than Meets The Eye
State of the Organic Industy: 2015
Sales of organic food and non-food products in the United States broke through another record in 2014, totaling $39.1 billion, up 11.3 percent from the previous year. Organic sales now near a milestone 5 percent share of the total food market.
The organic dairy sector posted an almost 11 percent jump in sales in 2014 to $5.46 billion, the biggest percentage increase for that category in six years.
Sales of organic non-food products – accounting for 8 percent of the total organic market – posted the biggest percentage gain in six years, with sales of organic fiber and organic personal care products the stand-out categories.
78 percent of organic buyers say they typically buy their organic foods at conventional food stores/supermarkets. Over half also shop organic at the “big box” stores, and some 30 percent also report that it’s not unusual to buy organic at one of the warehouse clubs in the country.
African American and Hispanic families have been steadily increasing among the ranks of organic-buying households.
The OTA survey also looks at the incomes, education and ages of organic buyers, and compares the buying habits of the new organic purchaser to the more experienced organic consumer.
Acres planted to organic cotton decreased by eight percent, from 16,050 acres in 2011 to 14,787 in 2012. However acres harvested increased to 9,842 in 2012—a 60 percent gain over 2011.
8,867 bales were produced in 2012, representing an increase of approximately 22 percent over the prior year.
Commercial availability of organic seed is among the major hurdles for organic cotton producers. However, promising research is being conducted by a team at Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Lubbock, TX on improving organic and non-GM cottonseed, including fiber quality and yields, as well as increased tolerance to drought, pests and weeds.
In 2014, American organic growers sold more than $550 million worth of products tracked by the U.S. government through organic export codes to buyers around the world, with the United States rightly claiming the position of global supplier for fresh organic produce.
Imports of organic products outpaced exports, amounting to nearly $1.3 billion in 2014. The import picture tells two stories: one of an increasing appetite by Americans for organic foods not widely produced in this country, like coffee, bananas, mangoes, olive oil, to name a few, and the second story of a growing domestic market for organic feed grains but insufficient home-grown organic crops to meet that demand.
Organic coffee imports accounted for more than $330 million of the total organic import value in 2014, the largest category by far of the organic imports.