Today's New York Times has an excellent story about the growth in US organic meat sales. Here's the money quote: "According to the consumer research and consulting firm A.C. Nielsen, natural meat sales, which excludes fish, nearly doubled in four years, to $681.3 million in the year ended April 22" . Yeah we know: 'tofu'. But hold off on the vegetarian to omnivore comparison until you read about how US natural beef producers have been channeling profits into conservation and land use preservation. If people are still going eat beef (which they arguably will), it's laudable to add the a boost to human health and conservation that is associated with organic or "natural" production. There's a tertiary benefti as well. When the organic meat market fully "mainstreams,", ranchers will realize that they have much more in common with Tree Huggers then they had realized. 'The customer is always right' paradigm translates then into political commonalities as well. More details from the NYT after the fold.
"Organic meat is the fastest-growing segment of the $14 billion organic food business, even though it represents only 2 percent. Last year, organic meat sales, which includes poultry and fish, soared 55 percent, to $256 million from 2004, far faster than the overall organic food industry's 15 percent annual clip, according to the Organic Trade Association. The association estimates that organic meat accounts for only 0.22 percent of overall meat sales. Organic growth is expected to accelerate now that Wal-Mart has decided to offer more organic food".