U.S. Organic Industry Nearly $29 Billion in 2010

The organic industry grew at a rate of nearly eight percent in 2010, bucking the current trend whereby “flat is the new growth” for many other segments of the economy. Further, some sectors of the organic market enjoyed annual growth of well over 30%, according to findings from the 2011 Organic Industry Survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). In 2010, the organic industry grew to over $28.6 billion.

“While total U.S. food sales grew by less than one percent in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and Executive Director. “Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods,” Bushway said.

She added, “The good news is that even as the economic recovery crawls forward, the organic industry is thriving – and hiring.” In 2010, 40% of surveyed organic companies reported positive full-time employment growth. Companies with fewer than five employees were least likely to add full-time employees (23%). About half of companies with more than 50 employees experienced positive full-time employment growth. What’s more, in 2011, 46% of respondents anticipate an increase in employment over 2010 levels. In addition, 50% expect employment to remain even, and only five percent foresee a decrease.

Experiencing the most growth, organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7% of total organic food value, and nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8% from 2009 performance. Organic dairy, the second-largest category, experienced nine percent growth to achieve a value of $3.9 billion, and captured nearly six percent of the total U.S. market for dairy products.

In the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led, with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4% growth over 2009 figures. Organic fiber (linen and clothing) totaled a value of $605 million, achieving 16% year-over-year growth. Personal care products, at $490 million, increased 6.6% from 2009.

The 63-page report is now available for purchase, priced at $795 for OTA members and $1,495 for non-members. Orders can be placed online or by contacting Angela Jagiello.

About the Organic Trade Association

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers’ associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA’s mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. For more information, visit the OTA’s website.

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