The U.S. organic food market: From niche to mainstream

May 21, 2014

In 2012, organic food sales for at-home consumption totaled $26.3 billion and comprised over 4% of total U.S. food sales for at-home consumption. Just recently, Walmart announced it is partnering with Wild Oats to offer an increased selection of organic products at reduced prices. Meanwhile, Target has re-organized its displays by aggregating certain natural, organic, and sustainably-focused products to make it easier for consumers to find such items. In the latest ePerspective post, Shermain Hardesty, Extension Economist at University of California, Davis, examines how this boom in organics may impact the food industry.

Hardesty believes that since organic production is concentrated with 10% of the farms and ranches generating 75% of the value of all organic production, it is likely these larger farms have enough scale to supply the larger food processors who, in turn, sell their organic food products to mass-market retailers and large grocery chains. “I expect that the expanded distribution of affordably priced organic foods will have more consumers buying more organic foods regularly, but as commodities rather than as niche products,” said Hardesty. Read her ePerspective post to find out why, in her opinion, the greatest source of uncertainty for the U.S. organic marketplace is related to consumers, not supply.

Shermain Hardesty’s ePerspective post