Consumers are becoming more and more interested in organic foods. Grocery stores, supermarkets, and specialized shops have been offering organic food products for years now.
Laws are being introduced, consumers are changing their shopping habits, and an entire industry sprung up, all thanks to organic foods. Our organic food statistics, facts, and general information can give you a clearer picture of this trend. Below we provide raw information and data on the organic food industry and consumer behavior tied to this product type.
Top Ten Organic Food Facts for a Healthier 2021
- The organic food market has doubled in size in the last decade.
- The organic dairy market was valued at $6.6 billion in 2019.
- Most consumers perceive organic food as being healthier.
- An organic diet can reduce cancer risk by 25%.
- Organic foods really are healthier.
- The global organic food and beverage market is forecasted to reach $679.81 billion by 2027.
- In 2018, Switzerland had the highest rate of organic food consumption per capita.
- Younger Americans prefer organic foods, as opposed to older citizens.
- In 2018, roughly 71.5 million hectares of farmland was dedicated to organic foods globally.
- Two years ago, organic food was more expensive than regular food by 7.5% on average.
General Organic Food Trends and Facts to Keep in Mind
Is organic food that healthy? What are the most popular organic foods? What does organic food mean, anyway? Dive in and find out.
1. In 2018, roughly 71.5 million hectares of farmland was dedicated to organic foods globally.
In other words, there were over 276,000 square miles of farmland dedicated to organic products. This data was gathered from no fewer than 186 countries. Unsurprisingly, the number had increased by 2 million hectares since 2017 and has continued to grow to this day.
2. Two years ago, organic food was more expensive than regular food by 7.5% on average.
Facts about healthy food show that in 2018, organic foods were 24 cents more expensive (per unit) than regular food compared to 2019. In 2014, this number was at 27 cents, indicating a 9% difference between the products’ prices.
However, these numbers vary substantially depending on the specific product. Organic milk, for example, is 88% more expensive than the regular kind. Organic bread is almost twice as expensive, while organic baby food is about 3% more costly.
3. A healthier diet adds up to $550 more per person in yearly food costs.
(Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health)
Organic food statistics and research gathered by the Harvard School of Public Health show that the least healthy diets daily cost only $1.50 less than healthy ones. The core differences between these diets, according to researchers, can be explained by the high levels of fruits, fish, nuts, and vegetables found in healthy diets. In contrast, unhealthy diets were rich in refined grains, processed meats, and foods.
Facts and Stats on the Organic Food Industry
The organic food industry is a vital and growing segment of the food industry in general. People are improving their diets, trying to eat as healthy as possible.
But, how does that reflect on the industry? Check out the numbers below.
4. The organic food market has doubled in size in the last decade.
(New Hope Network)
Organic food trends point toward clear and robust growth. In 2010, the US organic marketplace had an estimated value of $24.9 billion in sales. These numbers have more than doubled, reaching $55.1 billion in 2019. Of this number, $50.1 billion came solely from organic food sales. The remaining five billion went on dietary supplements, pet food, flowers, textiles, cleaning products, textiles, and personal care products.
5. The organic dairy market was valued at $6.6 billion in 2019, and it’s still growing.
(New Hope Network)
Of the estimated $50.1 billion organic food sales in 2019, more than 10% were dairy products. Furthermore, this market grew at a rate of 2%, ten times faster than the general dairy market.
6. Multiple factors outside of health concerns lead to an increase and strengthening of the organic food market.
Organic food facts and stats show the greatest factors are the need for environmental protection, consumer attention toward the quality of food production and of course, health concerns. Let’s not forget the growing awareness of the fact that integrating and supporting organic production strengthens the agricultural economy.
7. The global organic food and beverage market will likely reach $679.81 billion by 2027.
In 2018, the global organic food and beverage market had an estimated value of $165.52 billion. Experts expect that by 2027, that number will more than quadruple, with an expected CAGR of 17.05%. Of course, the Covid Pandemic has most likely influenced these numbers, and the jury’s out on what organic food statistics from 2021 and onward will show.
8. In 2019, organic ketchup sales reached $57 million.
(New Hope Market)
You wouldn’t think a simple thing as organic ketchup could be that valuable. Well, in 2019, it had a substantial market share. In fact, its sales had even increased by 16% compared to 2018. The most likely cause of this growth is greater consumer interest in sugar-free condiments.
The Benefits and the Demographics of Organic Food Consumers
More and more Americans are getting into organic foods. But, what does the average organic food consumer look like? What level of education do they have? Does consumer behavior change according to gender or age? Find out below.
9. People are buying more and more organic pet food for the same reasons they get organic food for themselves.
(New Hope Network)
Around 9% of all organic sales are comprised of organic non-food products. Demand for organic food is present for pet food as well.
Organic pet food is a small part of this industry, but it’s certainly growing. People want “clean” products and transparency as far as supply chains are concerned. Now, an ever-growing number of consumers expect the same for their pets.
10. Most consumers perceive organic food as being healthy.
Several associations pop up in consumers’ minds when talking about organic foods. Around 68% primarily associate the term “organic” with “clean label.” Then, 61% associate it with fresh foods, while about 58% of consumers also link this term with ingredients that sound “familiar.” Another 51% make an association between “organic” and ingredients derived from animals and plants.
16. Organic food consumption varies depending on education levels and household income.
According to organic food statistics, organic meat consumers have higher household incomes, tend to be younger, and most likely have children. It’s also expected that Gen Zers will become a significant buying demographic for organic foods once they graduate from college and gain greater purchasing power.
13. Organic foods really are healthier.
The nutritional content of organic foods varies depending on the farm the crops were grown on. However, multiple studies have shown organic produce is more nutritious. It has higher levels of vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. They also have lower levels of pesticide residue and nitrates.
Furthermore, healthy food nutrition facts and stats reveal that most organic foods have greater levels of antioxidants, and organic dairy products have greater benefits when it comes to allergic dermatitis.
11. A French study has shown that an organic diet can reduce cancer risk by 25%.
(New York Times)
As mentioned earlier, health benefits are one of the reasons behind the growing organic food popularity. This five-year-long study that included 70,000 adults focused exactly on such benefits.
Namely, its results revealed that consumers with the most frequent intake of organic foods had a lower incidence of lymphomas. Furthermore, a significant drop was detected in postmenopausal breast cancers (most of the study’s participants were women).
Even the study’s authors were surprised at the reduction rates indicated in the report. However, the first author emphasized that the study does not prove the diet can reduce cancers, only that it suggests this diet can reduce cancer risk.
12. Consumers choose organic foods in order to avoid pesticides, among other reasons.
A recent survey conducted by Natural Grocers analyzed organic food industry trends and listed the main reasons why people prefer organic foods. First, 90% of respondents do so in order to avoid pesticides. Also, around 70% of them state they buy organic to avoid GMOs. Finally, around 40% believe that organic foods are more nutritious.
14. In 2018, Switzerland had the highest rate of organic food consumption.
The average Swiss consumer spent roughly 312 euros on organic food. Denmark and Sweden are also very high on the list when it comes to organic food consumption. It should be noted, however, that different countries and organizations have different definitions of “organic.”
15. Younger Americans prefer organic foods, as opposed to older citizens.
Organic food consumption statistics show that younger Gen Xers and millennials are the largest consumers of organic foods, and they’re much more likely to look for organic foods. Adults under 40 are far more likely to buy fresh and healthy foods. They’re also the primary consumers of organic packaged foods.
Why is organic food more expensive?
There are several factors. For example, demand (or rather lack thereof) leads to a higher price. Organic foods make up a small part of the food industry (5.5% in 2017). Because of its relatively lower demand, prices are higher. If demand were to increase, supply could be scaled up, and then organic food would become more affordable.
The other, more important reason is that organic foods are more expensive to produce. The processes that replace pesticides and the usage of chemicals simply cost more in terms of labor, tools, and products used.
Finally, organic farms tend to take care of their land better. They invest a lot more money, time, and labor to protect their fields. Crop rotation, for example, is used to preserve and build up soil fertility.
How much organic food is really organic?
In a way, you can say—none of it (at least in the US). According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “only” 95% of the ingredients used for the creation of an organic product need to be classified as organic. Furthermore, there’s a distinction between “made with organic ingredients” and “organic” labels. The first one implies products that are just 70% organic.
Who sells the most organic food?
No, it’s not Whole Foods. Back in 2016, Costco actually surpassed Whole Foods and held 10% of America’s organic food market.
Fresh fruit and veggies seem to be the most popular organic food products. Still, prepacked organic products and their fresh-cut counterparts are also becoming increasingly popular.
(Produce blue book)
What percentage of food is GMO?
It largely depends on the product. For example, in the US, 75% of all processed foods (crackers, condiments, soups…) use GMO ingredients. Also, 92% of corn in the country is genetically engineered, and so is about 94% of its cotton and soybeans.
(Center for Food Safety)
How many people eat organic?
In 2020, the US had a population of roughly 331 million. Of this number, according to the Simmons National Consumer Survey, 94.38 million Americans used organic foods. This corresponds to approximately 28.5% of the population—over a quarter of US citizens.
The organic food statistics we’ve chosen for you clearly show more and more people are turning to organic products. This is reflected in both consumer trends and the industry’s growth.
Are you interested in all things organic? Do you want to share your thoughts on this matter? Feel free to leave us a comment!