Yup! Organics Are Mainstream

The Lempert Report
June 20, 2017

One more reason Whole Foods was in trouble

The Organic Trade Association said sales of organic food and goods grew more than 8 percent last year. Sales topped $47 billion in 2016, with organic food accounting for $43 billion of the total market and now accounts for just over 5 percent of the nation’s total food sales. Impressive considering that overall food sales grew just 0.6 percent last year. One notable growth area is meat and poultry organics which grew over 17 percent and now takes in almost a billion dollars in sales. 

Meat and poultry is another segment showing strong consumer demand for organic. Sales of organic meat and poultry grew more than 17 percent to $991 million last year, marking the category’s biggest yearly gain. 

How far can organics grow? Certainly this survey point to the huge opportunity for growth in non-food categories, especially health and beauty products. But there is another huge problem that may be compounded by The White House’s new executive order to create a new task force that will “recommend eliminating food and agriculture legislation, policies, and regulations that might hinder the profit-making of “agribusiness” within the next 180 days. The industry’s challenge is the amount of land and farmers dedicated to producing organic foods. Many pro-organic groups are up in arms as they feel that this is a giant step backwards that may allow companies like Dow (who gave Trump $1 million for his Inauguration) to have an easier time to have their products approved for use in agriculture.

“We need more organic farmers in this country to meet our growing organic demand, and the organic sector needs to have the necessary tools to grow and compete on a level playing field,” Laura Batcha, CEO of the Organic Trade Association told The Star Tribune. “That means federal, state and local programs that help support organic research, and provide the organic farmer with a fully equipped tool kit to be successful.” 

Which is sort of funny (or not) since the First Lady has said that “Barron’s health has improved out of sight since we started eating organic, non genetically modified food.