Organic sales on the rise
By Carol Radice
Think what you will about GMOs (genetically modified organisms), but after seeing the latest survey results from the Organic Trade Association it’s hard to deny the positive effect GMOs are having on organic sales. According to the OTA’s U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2014 Tracking Study, organic sales soared to $35.1 billion in the U.S. last year. That’s an impressive 12% hike from the previous year and a new record. But perhaps more importantly, the OTA found 8 out of 10 American families now purchase organic products at least some of the time. Moreover, nearly 25% of parents said that avoiding genetically modified foods is among their top reasons for selecting organic. That’s a substantial increase from the 16% who answered the same way in 2013 and by far the biggest jump from attitudes recorded a year ago. In announcing these results, Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director at the OTA attributed the increase in organic sales to the rising level of knowledge people have today, particularly among parents with children still at home, in terms of organics and GMOs. That heightened awareness, she notes, is clearly being reflected in their buying decisions. Interestingly, products bearing the USDA Organic Seal hold weight among shoppers as nearly three quarters of consumers surveyed said they actively seek out this seal when making a purchasing decision. I am one who must selectively buy organic, primarily because of its higher cost. To me organics are appealing mostly because of the lack of pesticides used and the type of products I purchase reflect that. I have to say, however, this study reminded me that an added benefit to buying organic is in knowing I am not consuming any GMO ingredients. In these times where grocers are searching for any competitive edge they can find, it seems they might want to pay attention to these findings.