Sales of organic products rose 13% to $11.2bn in the year to July 6 in the US retail market, with the highest growth found in shelf-stable meats, poultry and seafood (+61%); followed by baby food (+34%); and shelf-stable functional beverages (+33%); according to new data from SPINS*.
The biggest categories are packaged produce ($2.6bn), followed by milk ($1.2bn), yogurt and kefir ($448m), energy bars and gels ($389m) and eggs ($368m).
As to why Americans are buying organic, reasons vary, but most shoppers are doing so because they want to avoid things (GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives), and not because they believe organics are necessarily more nutritious, Hartman Group’s senior ethnographic analyst Amy Sousa said in a webinar on organics last year.
At the time, SPINS also noted that "in addition to purchasing products touting the Non-GMO Verification seal, consumers are also turning to organics to avoid genetically modified ingredients."
It added: “Though not a foolproof method of doing so as the USDA organic program does not require testing for GMOs, buying organic does ensure that those ingredients are not intentionally added to the products.”
*The SPINS data covers the SPINSscan Natural and Specialty Gourmet channel and the SPINSscan Conventional All-Outlet Combined (powered by Nielsen ScanTrack) channel, which includes organic private label products with at least 70% organic content. The data is for the 52 weeks ending July 6, 2013, versus the previous year.