Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Organic growth unstoppable

Two stories from offering some insight into the develpment of organic farming in Britain and the US...

Scottish Farmers to Receive Organic Certification Support documents the recent explosion in organic farming in Scotland, and why it's a trend that's likely to continue:

The Soil Association claims that the organic food market in the UK is worth an estimated £1.12 billion per year, with sales of organic food growing by £2 million a week.

US Court Gets Tough on Organic Ingredients is about plans to tighten up organic standards in the US. If the plans - which bring standards into line with the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 - are approved, it will become harder for Americam farmers to achieve official organic status. The proposed new measures do not seem unreasonable, however, and while they may temporarily slow growth in the organic sector, the net result is likely to be better quality food in the long term:

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) said it will work with the USDA to address these issues.

“OTA is proud that in the two years since national organic standards were implemented, US organic acreage and production have grown substantially, organic product sales have increased, and there have been many environmental benefits as a result,"said Katherine DiMatteo, OTA’s executive director.

"The court decision may hamper that growth rate in the short term, but OTA is optimistic that its members and others in the organic community can pull together to maintain the momentum for organic agriculture.”

The organic food market in the US is estimated to be worth $10.4 billion and it shows no signs of tiring – it grew by 20.4 percent in 2003 – and sales are expected to reach $16.1 million
[sic - shouldn't that be billion?] in 2008, according to a recent report published by Euromonitor.

"Sales of organic food have outpaced those of traditional grocery products due to consumer perceptions that organic food is better for them," said the report.

It seems there are many people who still believe there is a limit to how much organic agriculture can compete with the more industrial variety we have had thrust upon us. Yet looking at these figures, it would appear the organic movement is on course for world domination! It's no surprise that non-organic producers are starting to get scared.


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