According to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) 2017 Organic Industry Survey, the American organic sector stayed on its upward trajectory in 2016, gaining new market share and breaking records, as consumers across the United States ate and used more organic products than ever before. Organic food sales increased by 8.4%, or $3.3 billion, from the previous year to reach $43 billion in 2016. This marks the first time the American organic food market has broken though the $40-billion mark. Organic food now accounts for 5.3% of total food sales in the country.
The $15.6-billion organic fruits and vegetables sector held onto its position as the largest of the organic food categories, accounting for almost 40% of all organic food sales. Posting an 8.4% growth rate, almost triple the 3.3% growth pace of total fruit and vegetable sales, organic fruits and vegetables now make up almost 15% of the produce that Americans eat.
Sales of organic meat and poultry increased by more than 17% in 2016 to $991 million, for the category’s biggest-ever yearly gain. Continued strong growth in that category should push sales across the $1-billion mark for the first time in 2017.
“Organic products of all sorts are now found in the majority of kitchens and households across our country,” said Laura Batcha, OTA’s CEO and executive director. “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 programs that help support organic research, and provide the organic farmer with a fully equipped tool kit to be successful.”