Organic industry thriving, but faced with challengesThe state of the organic industry is filled with opportunities, but equally plagued with a host of challenges, according to Laura Batcha, Organic Trade Association executive director and CEO who spoke at the Natural Products Expo East trade show last week.

“The increased amount of organic in our stores is a testament that organic is here to stay,” Batcha said.

However, Batcha said organic acreage and production in the US are not keeping up with demand which is a gap that must close in the next decade in order for the industry to stay successful.

Other organic experts who spoke during a panel discussion at the expo last week highlighted the difficulty there is in attracting and keeping new organic farmers without a good federal support system for organic.

In addition to these concerns, the panelists said there is a challenge with big box retailers transforming the industry, which could confuse consumers over the real meaning and integrity of organic products.

Still, all panelists agreed the increased availability of organic products in major retail was a good thing.

 “The (food) system is moving in the direction of organic,” said Ken Cook president and co-founder for the Environmental Working Group.

More on the panelist’s assessment of key challenges to the organic industry can be found here.