Organic Facts

What is Happening in the Organic Market Place?

These organic facts are real, there has been an explosion in the demand for organic products, and the variety available in every food category has increased dramatically in the last decade. The most recent additions include meat and poultry, seafood items, beer and wine, baked goods and snacks, soups and sauces, spices, and more. The number of organic farmers is increasing by about 12% per year.

New trends include organic certification of retail outlets themselves, for the ways they handle, process, and display organic foods. Large food companies are acquiring many small organic manufacturers. General Mills has released a certified organic cereal under its own label. On a smaller scale, organic (Community Supported Agriculture) farm-based programs selling to consumer subscribers, and direct grocery delivery operations are emerging in many locales.

Here are more Organic Facts:

The first certified organic restaurant, Nora’s in Washington, D.C., was announced in 1999.

Organic food sales at the retail level totaled $10.4 billion.

Sales of organic food totaled $3.5 billion in 1996 and the market has grown at least 20% each year since. According to the Organic Farming Research Foundation and the Organic Trade Association, U.S. sales of organic foods exceeded $4 billion in 1997. Sales in 2000 were estimated at $7 billion. The Food Marketing Institute reports that 42% of mainstream stores carry organic produce, and that presently grocery sales represent only 1% of the total market which is expected to grow 3-5% by the year 2007. Worldwide, there are now almost 600 organic producer associations in 70 countries. There are now over 10,000 U.S. farms engaged in commercial production of organic products.

This year, retail sales of organic foods are expected to exceed $15 billion — with more than $32 billion projected by 2009. While the conventional food industry still dwarfs the organic sector with $550 billion in yearly sales, it is producing an unappetizing 2 to 3 percent annual growth rate, while the organic industry has savored several years of 17 to 20 percent growth.

What Does it All Mean??

To a farmer, the word "organic" means healthy soil. To most consumers, it means no pesticides.

Here's more organic facts and what other terms mean legally:

  • Organic fruits and vegetables were grown without synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or sewage slude and haven't been genetically engineered and irradiated.
  • Organic beef & chicken come from animals that weren't the offspring of cloned animals. They were raised on 100% organic feed, were never given growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs, and their meat was never irradiated.
  • Organic milk comes from animals that, for at least the past 12 months, were fed 100% organic feed and weren't given antibiotics or growth homones like rBST. This organic fact alone gets me to drink organic milk.
  • Organic eggs come from hens that were fed 100% organic feed and were never given growth hormones or antibiotics
  • Organic seafood doesn't mean a thing, since USDA hasn't defined the term.
  • Cage-free eggs come from hens that were not confined to cages and that may or may not have had access to the outdoors. They're not necessarily organic.
  • Free range or free roaming poultry have access to the outdoors, but for no minimum time. They're not necessarily organic. Cage-free poultry doesn't mean anything, since most chickens grown for meat are kept indoors (but cage-free) until they're transported to slaughter.
  • No hormones administered can appear on beef labels if the producer can document that the animals were raised without hormones.
  • Hormone-free is an illegal claim, since all animals produce their own hormones.
  • and irradiated.
  • Organic beef & chicken come from animals that weren't the offspring of cloned animals. They were raised on 100% organic feed, were never given growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs, and their meat was never irradiated.
  • Organic milk comes from animals that, for at least the past 12 months, were fed 100% organic feed and weren't given antibiotics or growth homones like rBST.
  • Organic eggs come from hens that were fed 100% organic feed and were never given growth hormones or antibiotics
  • Organic seafood doesn't mean a thing, since USDA hasn't defined the term.
  • Cage-free eggs come from hens that were not confined to cages and that may or may not have had access to the outdoors. They're not necessarily organic.
  • Free range or free roaming poultry have access to the outdoors, but for no minimum time. They're not necessarily organic. Cage-free poultry doesn't mean anything, since most chickens grown for meat are kept indoors (but cage-free) until they're transported to slaughter.
  • No hormones administered can appear on beef labels if the producer can document that the animals were raised without hormones. Hormone-free is an illegal claim, since all animals produce their own hormones.
  • No antibiotics added can appear on a label if the producer can document that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
  • Natural (or All Natural) meat or poultry products contain "no artificial ingredients and are no more than minimally processed." They're not necessarily organic, though some supermarkets try to make them appear to be.

    EDITOR's Note: Regarding what eggs to buy. I always buy organic eggs, mostly from local farmers and the difference is amazing (they feed them with grain rather than just "synthetic" feed). When you have battery eggs you start forgetting how good an egg can be, the depth of taste is fantastic. But if you can't buy from a farmer do buy the organic from the grocery store, a little more expensive but worth the taste, aspect of No growth hormones or antibiotics - feed 100% grains and the definitely worth humane part of it - See Life of Battery Hens.

    For more interesting organic facts see Organic Trade Association. Learn the organic facts and come back often for more updates on organic-facts.

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