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Organic Consumers Association

Organic Index 8.1.13

  • By Zack Kaldveer
    Organic Consumers Association, July 31, 2013

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, our Myth of Natural page and our Genetic Engineering page

Organic and ‘Natural’ Now Constitute 13% of All U.S. Grocery Sales

American consumers are increasingly willing to pay a premium price for foods and products that they believe are healthier, environmentally sustainable, and humanely produced.

Organic and "natural" products now constitute over 13% of U.S. grocery purchases. Sales of certified organic products are projected to reach approximately $35 billion in 2013, or 4.5% of total grocery sales. That compares with sales of “natural” products - uncertified, and routinely produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers, animal drugs, GMOs, and sewage sludge – which are expected to exceed $70 billion in 2013.

Unfortunately many, if not most consumers are unclear about the qualitative difference between certified organic and most so-called "natural" products. Given this rampant mislabeling in the marketplace, if so-called "natural" products containing GMOs and synthetic chemicals and residues had to be truthfully labeled, organic sales would likely double within a short period of time.

The Organic Industry Explosion

35%: Increase in U.S. sales of organic food over the past five years, nearly three times the pace of the food industry as a whole.
Source: The Organic Trade Association

16.5%: Average annual organics industry growth rate from 2000 to 2010, compared with 3.25 percent average annual growth in the overall food industry.
Source: A Growing Demand for Organic Food: A Bright Spot in a Tough Economy, 2012

21%: Difference in jobs created from investing in organic products versus non-organic.
Source: Organic Trade Association, 2012

7.4%: Organic industry growth rate in 2012, more than double the annual growth rate forecast for conventional food sales.
Source: Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators, 2012 Edition

$29.2 billion: Total organic food and beverage sales in 2011, doubling sales since 2004, and up from $1 billion in 1990.
Source: Organic Trade Association, 2012

4.2%: The total market share of organic sales in 2011, up from 4 percent in 2010.
Source: Organic Trade Association, 2012

20%: Increase in organic cotton retail sales, up from $4.3 billion in 2009 to $5.16 billion in 2010.
Source: 2010 Global Market Report on Sustainable Textiles

81%: Families that say they buy organic, up from 73 percent in 2009. Forty-one percent are new entrants to the market, and nearly half say they buy organic food because it is “healthier for me and my children.”
Source: U.S. Families’ Beliefs and Attitudes, Organic Trade Association

Label Confusion: ‘Natural’ versus Organic

61%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) versus 63% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

62%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of pesticides versus 69% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

59%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of herbicides versus only 69% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

64%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of growth hormones versus 68% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

73%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of artificial flavors/colors/preservatives versus 66% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

58%: Respondents who erroneously believed “natural” foods implies or suggests the absence of antibiotics versus 63% who correctly believed the same about organic foods.
Source: Hartman Group, 2010

$9 million: Amount PepsiCo recently agreed to settle out of court for falsely claiming their Naked Juice brands were ‘natural’ and ‘non-GMO’.
Source: Beverage Daily

$60 billion: Approximate sale of products falsely labeled “natural” in 2011.
Source: Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine’s 2012 Market Overview

 Compiled by Zack Kaldveer, assistant media director of OCA.

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