SAN FRANCISCO – Sales of organic food and other organic products in the U.S. surged to nearly $62 billion in 2020 – up more than 12 percent from the year before, according to a new survey by the Organic Trade Association, or OTA.
The coronavirus pandemic forced families across the country to eat most if not all of their meals at home, which is a main factor in the surge in sales of organic foods.
“While the growth in organic food sales is not expected to continue at 2020’s fast rate, organic food sales are expected to stay on a strong growth path in 2021,” the OTA concluded.
Sales of fresh organic fruits and vegetables topped $18.2 billion in 2020, up nearly 11 percent over the previous year. Sales of frozen and canned organic produce rose by nearly 29 percent. American consumers spent a total of $20.4 billion on organic fruits and vegetables, fresh and frozen combined, in 2020, making organic produce now 15 percent of all fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S.
To put the 2020 surge in organic sales into perspective, consumers spent $32 billion in 2013 on organic food and other goods, which at the time was a record for the industry.
The steady growth of organic food sales year after year is a clear indication that American consumers continue to look for healthy foods that are not produced with toxic pesticides, fertilizers, synthetic chemicals and other additives not allowed for use in organic foods, both fresh and processed, said EWG President Ken Cook.
“What chemical agriculture and conventional food companies don’t understand is that people don’t want to eat foods that contain toxic pesticides, chemical additives and other ingredients that could pose a risk to their health and the environment – including substances the government has approved as safe right up until the time it bans them,” said Cook. “As this incredible surge in organics demonstrates, consumers are forgoing conventional foods for those that are grown and produced under the strict guidelines required under the USDA organic seal.”
The OTA survey of more than 200 companies was conducted between January and March 2021 by the Nutrition Business Journal.
“Good, healthy food has never been more important, and consumers have increasingly sought out the Organic label. Organic purchases have skyrocketed as shoppers choose high-quality organic to feed and nourish their families,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association.
“Our colleagues at OTA and its member companies should be applauded for giving concerned consumers a clear and healthy choice in the foods they purchase and prepare for their families,” added Cook.
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.