Consumer demand for clean-label foods and beverages continues to gain momentum particularly for the organic farming sector. In fact, sales of certified organic products hit $6.2 billion in 2015, up 14 percent from 2014, according to results of the 2015 Certified Organic Survey from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
According to the survey, there are 12,818 certified organic farms in the United States. The top 10 states in terms of sales accounted for 78 percent of total U.S. certified organic sales in 2014 and in 2015, showing continued national leadership by California with $2.4 billion, up $205 million since 2014. The industry shows potential for growth in production as existing organic producers are transitioning another 151,000 acres nationally to organic production.
The selection of certified organic products sold by U.S. farms in 2015 ranged from dairy and meats to fruits, vegetables and grains. The value of sales from livestock and poultry products led the way ($1.9 billion) followed by vegetables ($1.4 billion); fruits, tree nuts, and berries ($1.2 billion); livestock and poultry ($743 million); and field crops ($660 million).
The top five commodities in certified organic sales were:
- Milk, $1.2 billion, up 8.4 percent from $1.1 billion in 2014
- Eggs, $732 million, up 74.5 percent from $420 million in 2014
- Broiler chickens, $420 million, up 13.1 percent from $371 million in 2014
- Apples, $302 million, up 20 percent from $251 million in 2014
- Lettuce, $262 million, down less than 1 percent from $264 million in 2014.
Seventy-one percent of U.S. certified organic farms and ranches reported selling products to wholesale markets. Wholesale markets, such as buyers for supermarkets, processors, distributors, packers and cooperatives, were serving as the marketing channel of choice for U.S. organic farmers and ranchers to get their products to customers. Thirty-six percent sold directly to consumers and 22 percent sold directly to retail markets and institutions.
At the retail level, U.S. sales of organic food and non-food products posted new records in 2015, skyrocketing to a whopping $43.3 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year and outpacing the overall food market’s growth rate of 3 percent, according to the latest survey on the organic industry from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
Looking to get in on the clean label trend? Understanding consumer demands, formulation considerations and supply chain considerations is critical. Join us for the Delivering on the Clean Label Expectation All-Day Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at SupplySide West 2016.