US Organic Product Sales Grew 17% In 2008

home container garden photo

Home container garden. Image credit:ThatOneCaveman.

The US-based Organic Trade Association's new survey indicates 2008-sales of all types of organic products reached $24.6 billion, a 17.1 percent increase over 2007. This came in spite of the economic difficulties experienced in the last half 2008. (Remember how much more of your income went for gasoline in 2008?) Even more amazingly, organic non-food sales grew 39.4 percent in the same period.

The survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of OTA, measured the growth of U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages as well as non-food categories such as organic fibers, personal care products and pet foods during 2008. Results show organic food sales grew in 2008 by 15.8 percent to reach $22.9 billion, while organic non-food sales grew by an astounding 39.4 percent to reach $1.648 billion. As a result, organic food sales now account for approximately 3.5 percent of all food product sales in the United States.
It will be interesting to see whether this progression of increased organic product sales will continue through 2009, given the high unemployment rate and the tremendous increase in home gardening, which could reduce the need for purchasing organic food items.

Over the past decade, the defensive push-back against organic product sales growth had several forms.

Self-described Think Tank "experts" have issued numerous reports and published opinion pieces claiming that organic products are a poor value, are bad for the environment, do nothing positive for your health, are indistinguishable on taste, etc. Somehow the idea that the customer is always right never reaches these people. Let them have their mashed peas. Let's move on, shall we?

There were several advocacy attempts, sponsored by big agribusinesses mainly, to co-opt the US Department of Agriculture organic standards: advocacy games which customers fortunately were able to fight off. Hopefully, that phase is over and done with.

There will always be devious attempts to claim organic status through tricks like calling water, a principle added ingredient, "organic." 'No one will ever figure out what we have done, said the evil genius!'

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
As the strong non-food organic sales trend clearly indicates, we are in an emulation phase, as in this definition: "emulation - effort to equal or surpass another imitation - copying (or trying to copy) the actions of someone else."

More posts on organic products.
US Land Devoted to Organic Cotton Increases
Can a Leather Chair be Organic?
Organic Meat Sales Growth Drives Land Conservation

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