The U.S. organic industry posted record sales in 2015 with total organic product sales hitting $43.3 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year’s record level and outstripping the overall food market’s growth rate of 3 percent, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey.
Of the $43.3 billion in total organic sales, $39.7 billion were organic food sales, up 11 percent from the previous year, while non-food organic sales accounted for $3.6 billion, up 13 percent. Nearly 5 percent of all the food sold in the U.S. in 2015 was organic.
Organic produce retained its longstanding spot as the largest of all the organic categories with sales of $14.4 billion, up 10.6 percent. The demand for fresh organic was most evident in the continued growth of “fresh juices and drinks,” which saw explosive growth of 33.5 percent in 2015, making it the fastest-growing of all the organic subcategories. The fastest-growing of the eight major organic categories was condiments, which crossed the $1 billion mark in sales for the first time in 2015, on 18.5 percent growth.
Dairy, the second biggest organic food category, accounted for $6.0 billion in sales, an increase of over 10 percent. Dairy accounts for 15 percent of total organic food sales.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established equivalency arrangements with Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea and Switzerland, allowing U.S. organic producers to reach consumers around the world. As a result, American organic producers now have streamlined access to international organic markets valued at over $35 billion, and organic products certified in one country can now be sold as organic in other respective markets, reducing the cost of duplicative certifications, fees and inspections.
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