WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American organic sector stayed on its upward trajectory in 2016, gaining new market share and shattering records, as consumers across the United States ate and used more organic products than ever before, according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2017 Organic Industry Survey released Wednesday at OTA’s Annual Policy Conference.
Organic sales in the U.S. totaled around $47 billion in 2016, reflecting new sales of almost $3.7 billion from the previous year. The $43 billion in organic food sales marked the first time the American organic food market has broken though the $40-billion mark. Organic food now accounts for more than five percent -- 5.3 percent to be exact -- of total food sales in this country, another significant first for organic.
Organic food sales increased by 8.4 percent, or $3.3 billion, from the previous year, blowing past the stagnant 0.6 percent growth rate in the overall food market. Sales of organic non-food products were up 8.8% in 2016, also handily surpassing the overall non-food growth rate of 0.8 percent.
The survey also showed that organic is creating jobs. More than 60 percent of all organic businesses with more than 5 employees reported an increase of full-time employment during 2016, and said they planned to continue boosting their full-time work staff in 2017. “The organic industry continues to be a real bright spot in the food and ag economy both at the farm-gate and check-out counter,” said OTA’s CEO and Executive Director Laura Batcha.
“The theme of our conference is ‘Organic. Big Results from Small Seeds’ because of the wide and positive impact of organic,” noted Batcha. “Organic farmers are not just staying in business, they’re often expanding. Organic handling, manufacturing and processing facilities are being opened, enlarged and retooled. Organic farms, suppliers, and handlers are creating jobs across the country, and the organic sector is growing and creating the kinds of healthy, environmentally friendly products that consumers are increasingly demanding.”
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