- The number of certified organic producers in the U.S. increased by nearly 12% to 21,781 operations last year, continuing the sector's double-digit annual growth, according to the USDA.
- That was the highest growth rate since 2008 and represents an almost 300% increase over the number of producers in 2002, when the USDA began its annual count.
- The U.S. organic retail market is currently valued at more than $39 billion. Globally, the organic market value is $75 billion.
As consumer demand for clean labels and organic and all-natural foods increases, so too has organic production grown to meet that demand.
This has led to a wealth of startups producing certified organic products to serve the market need and challenge major manufacturers' dominance at the grocery store. In turn, larger companies have acquired or invested in several of the fastest-growing organic products.
However, major manufacturers have also responded with organic product developments. Most recently, Kraft Heinz announced the launch of an organic line of Capri Sun varieties. They offer the organic ingredients parents want for their children, the company said in a statement.
Last month, General Mills announced it would double its organic acreage for ingredient sourcing in an effort to reach its goal of generating $1 billion in net sales from natural and organic products by 2019, a year ahead of schedule. In January, ConAgra also released organic varieties of Hunt's tomato products.
Still, demand for organic products is so high that many manufacturers rely on imports for organic ingredients. Cuba could present an opportunity for manufacturers, as Cuban farmers have been growing foods without the use of chemicals or pesticides for decades. Cuba is a much shorter distance from the U.S. than other organic importers and could reduce shipping time and costs for U.S. manufacturers.