Organic food labels seem to appear everywhere, but what does “organic” mean? Organic foods are produced using the most natural processes possible. USDA-certified organic food producers and processors follow guidelines for soil quality, animal raising practices, pesticides, and additives to ensure all-natural products.
You may question the health benefits of organic food or whether certified, organic products are becoming the new norm. Here are nine organic food statistics that may surprise you.
Sales of Organic Food Statistics
During the COVID-19 pandemic, health became a primary concern for most consumers. Many people view organic foods as a healthy alternative to conventional foods, which led to an increased interest in organic options as the pandemic altered lifestyles across the country. The following statistics show how organic food sales have changed over the years:
1. Organic Food Sales in the U.S. Reached $57.5 Billion in 2021
Organic food sales have increased steadily over the past 15 years, from $13.26 billion in 2005 to $57.5 billion in 2021. The most significant annual increase occurred during the 2020 pandemic-induced increase in health conscientiousness, as sales jumped $6.43 billion from 2019 ($50.07 billion) to 2020 ($56.5 billion).
2. Organic Food Sales Account for Over 4% of Total U.S. Food Sales
Organic food is primarily available in conventional grocery stores, natural food stores, and direct-to-consumer markets. Recent industry statistics show organic food sales account for over 4% of total U.S. food sales–an industry worth $850 billion in 2020.
3. 76% of Adults Buy Organic Foods for Health Reasons
According to a Pew Research survey, 76% of adult respondents purchased organic food for health concerns. These consumers, who don’t fully understand the definition of “organic,” generally understand that organic foods are supposed to be healthier than conventional products.
Environmental concerns (33%) and convenience (22%) were the second and third most popular reasons for buying organic food.
Organic Food Popularity Statistics
You can probably find USDA-certified organic stickers wherever you shop. These three statistics demonstrate the current popularity of organic foods.
4. Organic Food Is Now Available in Nearly 20,000 Natural Food Stores
As demand for organic food has increased; so has its availability. Organic food is currently available in roughly three out of four conventional grocery stores and 20,000 natural food stores nationwide.
Most sales (93%) go through conventional and natural food supermarkets and chains, while the remaining 7% go through farmers’ markets, food services, and marketing channels other than retail stores.
5. 94 Million Americans Used Organic Foods in 2020
According to Statista, 94.38 million Americans used organic foods in 2020, compared to 151.66 million who didn’t and 86.6 million who didn’t know or didn’t answer.
6. Organic Berries Have Surpassed $1 Million in Sales This Year
In 2022, so far, berries have been the top-selling organic fresh produce in the United States by a wide margin. Carrots, apples, spinach, and tomatoes round out the top five.
Miscellaneous Organic Food Statistics
Here are three more statistics covering the health benefits of organic food as well as which foods are commonly genetically engineered.
7. Organic Foods Contain 48% Les Cadmium Concentration
Cadmium (Cd) is a highly toxic metal found in cereal products, vegetables, potatoes, and meats that can increase the risk of cancer. Studies have shown that, on average, organic crops and crop-based foods contain 48% lower Cd concentrations than conventional crops.
Organic food is also associated with lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, infertility, infant defects, and allergic sensitization.
8. 75% of Processed Foods Contain Genetically Engineered Ingredients
Recent estimates show that 75% or more of processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients. Popular modified foods include soup, soda, crackers, and condiments.
Several crops are also heavily genetically engineered. 92% of corn is genetically modified, as is 94% of soybeans and cotton.
9. Organic Milk and Meat Have a Healthier Balance of Fatty Acids
Studies show that consuming organic beef or organic dairy products lowers dietary levels of omega-6 fatty acids while increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed organic milk and dairy products show an improved omega-6/omega-3 ratio of nearly 1:1, compared to 5.7:1 in conventional whole milk.
Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health, but too much omega-6 and too little omega-3 can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes. The average American consumes roughly 10 to 15 grams of omega-6 for every gram of omega-3.
Shop Natural Ingredients at Gillco
At Gillco, we have redefined the concept of wholesale ingredient distribution. We not only partnered with some of the most reputable ingredient manufacturers in the world but also learned how to use those ingredients. We train our sales force on all of our organic and clean-label ingredients to give you ideas on improving your food or beverage purchases.
Call us today at (760) 759-7900 or visit our website to learn more.