Organics Sales Top $50 Billion in U.S.

Sales are accelerating quicker than nonorganics, but the overall organic growth rate is easing.

May 22, 2019

WASHINGTON—U.S. organic sales are still growing faster than the general market, topping $50 billion for the first time in 2018, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. “Organic is now considered mainstream. But the attitudes surrounding organic are anything but status quo,” said Laura Batcha, CEO of the association.

However, that rate is not advancing as quickly, a sign that the organic market is reaching a maturation point as new health and wellness claims siphon off shopper dollars. The organics market was bolstered by non-food categories, such as personal care, pet food and household goods products. “Consumers want clean labels and to reduce the chemical load on their bodies,” the OTA said.

“The (U.S.) population isn’t growing as quickly as it once did, and the fertility rate is declining,” said Michael Boland, director of the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Applied Economics. “The [organic market] maturing is happening, I think, because people have decided they don’t need to be 100% organic, and people are only going to fill their baskets with so many fruits and vegetables.”

Boland pointed to more health claims on labels that attract shoppers, such as plant-based ingredients and healthy fats. “The space has become more complicated,” Boland said. “You have a fragmentation going on.”