GREENFIELD, Mass. ï¿½" U.S. sales of organic products continued to grow during 2009 despite the distressed state of the economy, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) revealed in its 2010 Organic Industry Survey. In fact, organic product sales in 2009 grew by 5.3 percent overall, to reach $26.6 billion. Of that figure, $24.8 billion represented organic food. The remaining $1.8 billion were sales of organic non-foods.
"While total U.S. food sales grew by only 1.6 percent in 2009, organic food sales grew by 5.1 percent. Meanwhile, organic non-food sales grew by 9.1 percent, as opposed to total non-food sales which had a 1 percent negative sales growth rate. These findings are indicative that even in tough times, consumers understand the benefits that organic products offer and will make other cuts before they give up products they value," said Christine Bushway, OTA executive director, in a press release.
Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 38 percent of total organic food sales, reached nearly $9.5 billion in sales in 2009, up 11.4 percent from 2008 sales. Most notable, organic fruits and vegetables now represent 11.4 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales.
Since the approval of the final National Organic Program rule published in 2000, sales of organic fruits and vegetables have grown from $2.55 billion, representing approximately 3 percent of all fruit and vegetable sales, to the nearly $9.5 billion level and 11.4 percent penetration level. Meanwhile, during that time, organic food sales have grown from $6.1 billion to $24.8 billion in 2009, jumping from 1.2 percent of all U.S. food sales to 3.7 percent.
The mass market channel had the lionï¿½ï¿½s share of organic food sales in 2009, with 54 percent of organic sold through mainstream grocers, club stores and retailers. Natural retailers were next, with 38 percent of total organic food sales. Although still representing a small percentage of sales, farmersï¿½ï¿½ markets, co-ops and CSA (community-supported agriculture) operations gained a lot of interest as consumers increasingly look for locally and regionally produced organic foods.
In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led, with $634 million in sales, representing 35 percent of total organic non-food sales, Organic supplement sales were 12 percent higher than in 2008. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled $521 million in sales, up 10.4 percent, while personal care products, at $459 million, were up 3.7 percent from 2008 sales.