Organic Food Sales Grew 15.8% in 2008, Study Shows

U.S. sales of organic food and nonfood products grew 17.1% to $24.6 billion in 2008 vs. the previous year, according to the 2009 Organic Industry Survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of the Organic Trade Association.

GREENFIELD, Mass. — U.S. sales of organic food and nonfood products grew 17.1% to $24.6 billion in 2008 vs. the previous year, according to the 2009 Organic Industry Survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales grew by 15.8%, accounting for 3.5% of total food sales last year.

Organic beverages experienced the greatest growth (40%), followed by breads and grains (35%). Organic fruits and vegetables accounted for the largest portion of organic food sales (37%), followed by beverages (14%) and dairy products (14%).

With a growth rate of 39.4% to $1.6 billion, organic nonfood sales grew faster than sales of organic food, with supplements, fibers (linens and clothing) and personal care products comprising the largest categories.

“Organic products represent value to consumers, who have shown continued resilience in seeking out these products,” said Christine Bushway, executive director of OTA, in a statement.

Still, organic categories have yet to reach their full potential. More than two-fifths of organic producers (41%) say that inconsistent supplies of organic raw materials continue to limit their ability to generate sales, with undependable supplies of organic grains mentioned most often. Lack of supplies of organic sugar is an issue for 11% of manufacturers.

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