Business Overview (Introduction)

Since 1990, the market for organic products has grown from nothing, reaching $46 billion in 2007. This demand has driven a similar increase in organically managed farmland. Approximately 32,200,000 hectares (80,000,000 acres) worldwide are now farmed organically, representing approximately 0.8 percent of total world farmland. In addition, as of 2007 organic wild products are harvested on approximately 30 million hectares.

The organic industry continues to grow worldwide. Here are some statistics regarding this burgeoning market.

  • U.S. sales of organic food and beverages have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.8 billion in 2009. Sales in 2009 represented 5.1 percent growth over 2008 sales. Experiencing the highest growth in sales during 2009 were organic fruits and vegetables, up 11.4 percent over 2008 sales (Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey)
  • Organic food and beverage sales represented approximately 3.7 percent of overall food and beverage sales in 2009. Leading were organic fruits and vegetables, now representing 11.4 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales. (Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey)
  • Organic non-food sales grew 9.1 percent in 2009, to reach $1.8 billion. (Source: Organic Trade Association's 2010 Organic Industry Survey)
  • Total U.S. organic sales, including food and non-food products, were $26.6 billion in 2009, up 5.3 percent from 2008. (Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey)
  • Mass market retailers (mainstream supermarkets, club/warehouse stores, and mass merchandisers) in 2009 sold 54 percent of organic food. Natural retailers were next, selling 38 percent of total organic food sales. In 2008, mass market retailers represented 45 percent of sales, while natural food channels represented 43 percent of sales. Other sales occur via export, the Internet, farmers’ markets/ Community Supported Agriculture, mail order, and boutique and specialty stores. (Source: Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey.)