Greenfield, MA—The United States saw a spike in organic product sales in 2009, although the economy continued to ail, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). A 2010 Organic Industry Survey showed sales grew by 5.3%, reaching $26.6 billion; $24.8 billion in revenue came from organic food, while the remaining $1.8 billion came from organic non-foods.

Says Christine Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, “While total U.S. food sales grew by only 1.6% in 2009, organic food sales grew by 5.1%. Meanwhile, organic non-food sales grew by 9.1%, as opposed to total non-food sales which had a 1% negative sales growth rate. These findings are indicative that even in tough times, consumers understand the benefits that organic products offer and will make other cuts before they give up products they value.” The most growth was shown through the sales of organic fruits and vegetables, representing 38% of overall organic sales. And, organic fruits and vegetables reached nearly $9.5 billion in sales (an increase of 11.4% from 2008).

Furthermore, since the National Organic Program rule was published in 2000, organic fruits and vegetable sales have grown from $2.55 billion, which represents nearly 3% of all fruit and vegetable sales. On the other hand, organic food sales have expanded from $6.1 billion to $24.8 billion in 2009. This is a jump from 1.2% of U.S. food sales to 3.7%. To top it off, 54% of organic food was sold by mainstream grocers, club stores and retailers. Natural retailers also shared a part of this cash crop, with 38% of total food sales. Organic supplements were responsible for $634 million in sales. Organic fiber (clothing and linen) raked in $521 million in sales.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010