- Sales of U.S. organic foods reached $39.7 billion in 2015, an 11% increase year over year and a new record for the industry, according to the Organic Trade Association's 2016 Organic Industry Survey. Organic foods now comprise about 5% of the total food supply.
- Organic produce and dairy continue to be the largest categories, and both segments grew at 10.6% and 10%, respectively. Combined they comprise more than half of total organic food sales.
- But the fastest growth came in categories like fresh juices and drinks (33.5%) and condiments (18.5%). Organic snack foods were also up nearly 14% for the year.
Rising consumer demand is behind part of this growth, but access to organic foods plays an integral role. More supermarkets, big box stores, membership warehouse clubs, and other outlets are increasing organic product offerings.
And this growth won't abate. Organic food and beverage producers still have many opportunities to wedge their way into food deserts and other areas where organic foods are still not available yet.
Still, growth has been limited by availability of products and farms that are certified to produce organic foods. Companies like General Mills have stepped in to increase organic acreage sourcing, but securing the organic supply chain has industrywide implications that impact any manufacturers looking to offer select organic products or develop entire organic brands.
The USDA has also made efforts to improve the organic food supply chain, such as investing nearly $261 million over the past seven years in organic agriculture-related research and developing tools to help organic farmers grow businesses. It has also established organic equivalency trade agreements with other countries to enable U.S. organic food and beverage producers to expand the reach of potential sales opportunities.