USDA Report Analyzes Organic Industry GrowthUSDA Report Analyzes Organic Industry Growth
October 21, 2002
USDA Report Analyzes Organic Industry Growth
WASHINGTON--As the organic industry prepares for fullimplementation of the National Organic Program (NOP) in October 2002, the U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report about changing marketingchannels and the impact of increased consumer demand. Recent Growth Patternsin the U.S. Organic Foods Market includes information from market researchfirms, industry journals and government agencies discussing market commodities,consumer buying patterns and agricultural projects.
"Burgeoning consumer interest in organically grown foods has opened newmarket opportunities for producers and is leading to a transformation in theorganic foods industry," wrote the report authors, Carolyn Dimitri andCatherine Greene, both with USDA's Economic Research Service. "Once a nicheproduct sold in a limited number of retail outlets, organic foods are currentlysold in a wide variety of venues ... [and] organic farming is one of the fastestgrowing segments of U.S. agriculture." Among the reports' findings:
The U.S. organic food industry crossed a threshold in 2000. For the first time, more organic food was purchased in conventional supermarkets than in any other venue.
Growth in retail sales has equaled 20 percent or more annually since 1990.
Organic products are sold in almost three-quarters of all conventional grocery stores.
Fresh produce is the top-selling organic category, followed by nondairy beverages, breads/grains, packaged foods and dairy products.
USDA's main regulatory program is the NOP, but the agency also offers crop insurance for organic farmers, information/documents and promotion of organic exports.
Consumer households that are more knowledgeable about alternative agriculture are more likely to purchase organic produce, as are those concerned about food safety.
The complete report is available online at www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib777.
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