Brattleboro, VT—The organic industry bucked the trend of flat growth that other market segments have seen. According to findings from the Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey, this industry grew 8% last year to $28.6 billion in sales. The news is even better for some sectors, which enjoyed a 30% growth.

Organic produce had the most growth. This sector represents about 40% of the total value of organic foods, and reached $10.6 billion in 2010. That’s an 11.8% increase over 2009 numbers.

OTA CEO and Executive Director Christine Bushway noted that the figures are especially noteworthy because organic sales outpaced that of total U.S. food sales, which only grew less than 1% in 2010. Stated Bushway, “Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods.”

Thanks to the sales, 40% of organic companies also grew their teams last year. Plus, 46% of survey takers noted that they plan to increase their staff in 2011 and 50% plan to keep staff size the same.

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Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2011