Posting the largest dollar gain ever for its sector, the US organic industry raked in $43.3 billion in sales last year, up 11 percent from 2014’s record level and outpacing the overall food market’s growth rate of 3 percent.
According to the recent 2016 Organic Industry Survey compiled by the Organic Trade Association, $39.7 billion of the $43.3 billion total was from organic food sales. Despite the growth and increased availability among large and bulk retailers, supply issues remained a persistent challenge for the industry as production lagged behind consumption. In response, the organic industry has come together in creative, proactive ways to address the supply challenge, improve and develop infrastructure, and advocate for policy to advance the sector.
“The industry has joined in collaborative ways to invest in infrastructure and education, and individual companies have invested in their own supply chains to ensure a dependable stream of organic products for the consumer. Despite all the challenges, the organic industry saw its largest dollar growth ever. Organic will continue to be the most meaningful farm-to-fork—and fiber—system,” says Laura Batcha, OTA’s CEO and executive director.
Organic produce continued to be the dominant product in the segment, accounting for almost 13 percent of all produce sold in the US. The fresh juices and drinks category experienced healthy growth, though condiments took hold as the fastest-growing category. Dairy, the second-biggest organic food category, accounted for $6.0 billion in sales, an increase of over 10 percent.