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Report: U.S. Organic sales grow by 17.1% in 2008

BY Allison Cerra

GREENFIELD, Mass. U.S. sales of organic products, both food and non-food, reached $24.6 billion by the end of 2008, growing an impressive 17.1% over 2007 sales despite tough economic times, according to the Organic Trade Association, which made available final results from its 2009 Organic Industry Survey.

While the overall economy has been losing ground, sales of organic products reflect very strong growth during 2008.

“Organic products represent value to consumers, who have shown continued resilience in seeking out these products,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s Executive Director.

The survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of OTA, measured the growth of U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages as well as such non-food categories as organic fibers, personal care products and pet foods during 2008. Results show organic food sales grew in 2008 by 15.8% to reach $22.9 billion, while organic non-food sales grew by an astounding 39.4% to reach approximately $1.65 billion. As a result, organic food sales now account for approximately 3.5 percent of all food product sales in the United States.

“This marks another milestone for the organic food market,” said Bushway.

With tough economic times, consumers have used various strategies in continuing to buy organic products. Because most venues now offer organic products, consumers have the opportunity to shop around. Increased use of coupons, the proliferation of private label brands, and value-positioned products offered by major organic brands all have contributed to increased sales.

The final report of the Organic Trade Association’s 2009 Organic Industry Survey is now available: http://www.ota.com/bookstore/2.html.

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Fisher re-launches Chef’s Naturals, introduces Earth-friendly packaging

BY Allison Cerra

ELGIN, Ill. John B. Sanfilippo & Son, owner of the Fisher brand, are underway to reduce energy usage and to continue to research packaging materials and processing methods to reduce emissions and waste.

The company’s Fisher brand is relaunching its Chef’s Naturals Baking Nuts, but this time, it will be featured in Earth-Friendly packaging. A portion of the packaging is made using plant-based renewable resources, not oil. Plant-based renewable resources can include corn, cellulose and wood pulp.

 

Fisher recognizes the importance of doing its part in helping the environment, as American businesses of all sorts have come to grips with the potentially serious consequences of using non-renewable resources, the company stated in its release Friday. Plus, they added, the new Fisher packaging does not affect the quality, freshness or shelf life of the products.

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FMI cancels upcoming conference in Dallas

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The Food Marketing Institute on Thursday postponed its Future Connect leadership development conference, originally scheduled for May 4 through May 6 in Dallas, on account of the swine flu outbreak.

“It is with a deep regret that, due to the recent influenza outbreak, I share FMI’s decision to postpone our Future Connect and MARKETECHNICS events,” stated Leslie Sarasin, FMI president and CEO. “The increased urgency of the alerts from health officials today and the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services confirmed our decision to not host a large gathering where attendees would be in close proximity. We seek to support their recommended precautions and prevention steps and would not want to contribute to spread of the virus in any way.”

FMI is currently evaluating options for rescheduling the event, the association stated.

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