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   Studies Find Organic Category Going Strong
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 8:23AM EST

Organic foods now occupy prominent shelf space in the produce and dairy aisles of most mainstream U.S. food retailers and marketing of these products pushed retail sales of organic foods up to $21.1 billion in 2008 from $3.6 billion in 1997, notes the Marketing U.S. Organic Foods report from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Historically, fresh produce has been the most popular organic category and it continues to be just that; growth in retail sales of fresh produce averaged 15 percent a year between 1997 and 2007.

While the ERS study looked at overall organic trends, a survey conducted in early 2009 for PMA’s Consumer Research Online program found that nearly four in ten primary shoppers purchased organic fresh fruits and vegetables over the last year. Moreover, organic purchasers appeared to be loyal customers with almost all of these consumers (92%) expecting to buy more organic produce in the upcoming six months.

The major reason organic purchasers will buy more in the upcoming months, is a perceived health benefit of organic produce, although a lack of chemical pesticides and better taste are also on the list of reasons.

To read the full report, please go to: USDA

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