Organic is one of the fastest growing segments of America agriculture and consumer demand for organic products continues to rise. The vibrant U.S. organic sector is creating jobs and opportunities in communities across the nation. OTA's 2016 Infographic tells the story of Organic: a Bright Spot for our Farms, our Food, and our Future.
By now, you’re probably familiar with the pie chart illustrating the major categories within the organic food sector. The largest share of sales belongs to fruits and vegetables— accounting for more than 36% of the total $39.7 billion U.S. shoppers spent on organic food in 2015. Fruits and vegetables are more than double the size of the next largest category, according to OTA’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey, and it is the only organic food category to have experienced double-digit growth every year dating back to 2005.
One of OTA’s strongest assets as an organization is the diversity and breadth of its membership.
As consumers wake up to the national debate of GMO labeling, possible links of high-fructose corn syrup to obesity, and larger dead zones caused by chemical runoff, another movement is building in the sidelines: the effort to find and implement new, even revolutionary agronomy practices that can replace current unsustainable systems, and be scaled to meet growing demand for healthful foods, renewable textiles and biomass.
Besides her many accomplishments in the organic sector, Kelly Shea of WhiteWave Foods majored in Ancient Japanese Theater. Samantha Cabaluna of Earthbound Farm, who plays guitar, used to be in an all-girl rock band called Amazon Mollies. Tony Bedard, CEO of Frontier Co-op, loves working on his 40-acre farm where he is restoring 20 acres of native prairie and taking care of over 800 trees that he has planted. Meanwhile, David Lively of Organically Grown Company is a comic strip aficionado.
Global sales of organic food reached $80 billion in 2014, with the U.S. the largest organic market, according to findings in The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2016 unveiled during BioFach in February by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM—Organics International.
OTA was proud to take part in the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy, during October. The theme of this year’s international exposition was “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life,” exploring the huge task of finding a balance between meeting the nutritional needs of the global population and respecting the planet.
OTA co-hosted an all organic BBQ at the U.S. Consular General Allen Greenberg’s residence in Kobe, Japan. A first of its kind, the luncheon brought together key industry players and thought leaders from Japan’s growing organic industry. Monique Marez, OTA’s Associate Director for International Trade, and Melody Meyer, a member of OTA Board of Directors, led an information session and discussion on U.S. trends, and ways to import more USDA certified products.
Swiss consumers purchase more organic products per capita than any other consumer population in the world. They are the fourth largest market for organic products in the world after the United States, Canada, and the European Union and responsible for 3 percent of global purchases of organic in 2014. Now, U.S. organic farmers have streamlined access to this active market through an organic equivalency arrangement.
Fact: You can eat organic on a budget. Fact: Organic agriculture can help feed the planet. Fact: There are proven health benefits of organic. These are three of the more than 30 research-backed facts that OTA and partners digitally disseminated each day in September as part of its highly successful “Myth-Busting Month” social media festival.