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USA: Organics on the rise in US households

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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has released data showing that organic products are now used in more than 80% of kitchens in US households. Across the whole of America, in towns big and small, organics are being purchased by precisely 82.3% of households.

A study by Nielsen looked at organic purchases by 100,000 households state by state in 2015/16. It found that more households than ever before bought organic products on a regular basis in 2016. North Dakota was the state with the biggest rise in regular purchases – plus 14.2% compared with 2015. There were some states with 90% of households buying organics, and the lowest levels were around 70%.

This is clear evidence that organic is playing an increasing role across the whole country. OTA is keen to work with the new leadership at USDA because they want to show how important it is to support the organic programme, so that organics continue to be a part of people's diets nationwide – a healthy choice for consumers and profitable for farmers.

But, as the CEO of OTA points out, the organic industry relies on some critical public institutions as well as on consumers, and it thrives provided USDA appreciates the significance of organic to the rural economy and rural households. Georgia is an example of cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and the non-profit Georgia Organics group, a combination that has helped farmers converting to organic. They aim to double the number of organic farms by 2020, and this is the kind of development that OTA wants to see continuing.

The market share of organic food in the US is around 5%, with sales worth approximately $40bn annually. Between 2014 and 2015 the value of sales rose by 11%. The figures for 2016 will be available when OTA produces its 2017 industry survey.


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