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U.S. Organic Sales Hit a New $47B Record

U.S. Organic Sales Hit a New $47B Record

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

The organic trajectory continues to point up, with a leap over its last annual sales record. 2016 saw new market share and milestones for the segment, with U.S. consumers setting the bar at $47 billion for the year.

Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director, OTA“The organic industry continues to be a real bright spot in the food and ag economy both at the farm-gate and check-out counter,” said the Organic Trade Association’s CEO and Executive Director, Laura Batcha.

Batcha continued, “The theme of our conference is ‘Organic. Big Results from Small Seeds’ because of the wide and positive impact of organic. Organic farmers are not just staying in business, they’re often expanding. Organic handling, manufacturing and processing facilities are being opened, enlarged, and retooled. Organic farms, suppliers, and handlers are creating jobs across the country, and the organic sector is growing and creating the kinds of healthy, environmentally friendly products that consumers are increasingly demanding.”

Organic Growth Chart

The nearly $3.7 billion jump from the previous year has pushed organic food to account for 5.3% of overall food sales in the country, according to an OTA press release. A breakdown in the 2017 Organic Industry Survey, released Wednesday at OTA’s Annual Policy Conference, included:

  • Sales of organic protein-rich meat and poultry shot up by more than 17 percent in 2016 to $991 million, for the category’s biggest-ever yearly gain, and continued strong growth in that category should push sales across the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2017.
  • Organic food sales overall increased by 8.4 percent, or $3.3 billion, from the previous year.
  • Sales of organic non-food products were up 8.8% in 2016.
  • More than 60 percent of all organic businesses with more than 5 employees reported an increase of full-time employment during 2016, with intent to boost their full-time work staff in 2017.
  • Sales of organic condiments grew robustly. Organic dips posted stellar growth in 2016 of a whopping 41 percent, with $57 million in sales. And sales of organic spices swelled by a big 35 percent to $193 million.

But, while there have been significant strides, Batcha said there are still more hurdles for the sector.

“Organic products of all sorts are now found in the majority of kitchens and households across our country,” said Batcha. “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.”

To continue that upward trajectory, the Association emphasized increasing consumer awareness and transparent messaging.

OTA’s 2017 Organic Industry Survey was conducted and produced on behalf of OTA by Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), according to the release, from February 2, 2017, through March 31, 2017. More than 200 companies responded to the survey. The full report can be purchased, and online orders can be placed on this page, while executive summaries are available upon request.

Organic Trade Association