Organic industry sets new sales record, survey finds

Organic industry sets new sales record, survey finds
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The organic industry is booming, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association.

The industry set new records in 2015, with organic product sales hitting a new benchmark of $43.3 billion, up 11 percent from 2014. The survey found that of total organic sales, $39.7 billion were organic food sales, up 11 percent from the previous year, and $3.6 billion were sales of non-food organic products, up 13 percent.

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The OTA said nearly 5 percent of all food sold in the U.S. and 13 percent of all produce sold is organic. Organic produce remains the largest of all organic categories with $14.4 billion in sales, up 10.6 percent from 2014, the survey found.

More than 200 companies responded to the survey conducted from Jan. 7 through March 25.

While consumers are increasingly turning to organic products, the OTA said challenges persist in meeting that demand. Dairy and grains were two specific areas the OTA said where growth could have been more robust. The group said the industry needs a secure supply chain that can support demand.

"Under the Obama Administration, we've made transformative investments to help the organic sector thrive by making certification more attainable, providing more support for organic operations, and expanding international markets,” Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE said in responce to the OTA’s report. “As consumer demand continues to grow, USDA is here to support producers and help them access the hunger for American-grown organic products."

He said the administration has invested nearly $261 million over the past seven years in research to imprve the productivity and success of organic agriculture, has certified more than 21,900 organic operations to date and has created new crop insurance options to meet the unique needs of organic operations, among other initiatives.