If you just started “eating organic,” you’re not alone: organic food sales increased by more than 8 percent between 2015 and 2016, with sales topping out last year at $47 billion. (That figure also includes the purchase of organic household products.)
What’s more that’s a huge uptick compared to the “overall” food sector grew: it grew by just 0.6 percent in 2016.
That 2016 $47 billion sales figure has more than doubled since 2007 when the combined organic food and organic non-food sales topped out at “just” $20 million.
As for why consumers chose to purchase organic? The Organic Consumers Association reported that that the primary reason consumers gave in its survey was that they wanted to avoid chemicals and pesticides. Or, as the association’s associate director said (at the link above): “’So I think you are looking at a better-educated population that is connecting the dots between what they eat and their health.’”
Most organic food sales were of fresh fruits and vegetables.
So while more of your neighbors and friends are eating organic food, what could this mean for you? Take a look below for our take on the future of organic eating.
- The organic meat and dairy sectors need to see more growth in organic feed grains.
We can’t eat organic beef or drink organic milk if there aren’t enough organically raised cows and cattle. Yes, the bovines can eat grass, but what about poultry? Organic grains could be the answer.
- More farmers need to go organic.
Most people purchase fruits and vegetables when they buy organic food and, as demand grows, the Organic Trade Association is worried that there won’t be enough organic farms and farmers to meet it. The association believes there is an “’unmet demand for organic in this country, and this provides a great opportunity for America’s farmers.’”
- Organic food will not surpass conventionally grown food.
As much as we could wish organic farming will eventually grow larger than conventional farming, it probably will: farming organically and raising organic livestock is just too expensive and the higher margins farmers would need to stay in business could turn consumers away from purchasing the more extensive produce, dairy and meats.
All is not lost, however, because organic farming has the definite potential to help rural communities: it could help those areas’ economies and help feed their residents.
We predict that eating organically will come to be thought of as something like following a paleo or vegan diet: no longer “odd,” but not completely mainstream. Organic eating soon will thought of as an acceptable, but still “alternative” way to eat.
What do you think is the future of organic eating?