Demand for organic food outstrips supply
By LIBBY QUAID, AP Food and Farm Writer Thu Jul 6, 8:16 PM ET
WASHINGTON - America's appetite for organic food is so strong that supply just can't keep up with demand. Organic products still have only a tiny slice, about 2.5 percent, of the nation's food market. But the slice is expanding at a feverish pace.
Growth in sales of organic food has been 15 percent to 21 percent each year, compared with 2 percent to 4 percent for total food sales.
Organic means food is grown without bug killer, fertilizer, hormones, antibiotics or biotechnology.
Mainstream supermarkets, eyeing the success of organic retailers such as Whole Foods, have rushed to meet demand. The Kroger Co., Safeway Inc. and SuperValu Inc., which owns Albertson's LLC, are among those selling their own organic brands. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said earlier this year it would double its organic offerings.
The number of organic farms — an estimated 10,000 — is also increasing, but not fast enough. As a result, organic manufacturers are looking for ingredients outside the United States in places like Europe, Bolivia, Venezuela and South Africa.
That is no surprise, said Barbara Robinson, head of the Agriculture Department's National Organic Program. The program provides the round, green "USDA Organic" seal for certified products.
Her agency is just now starting to track organic data, but Robinson believes the United States is importing far more organic food than it exports. That's true of conventional food, too.
Full story: Organic food demand outstrips supply----------------------------------------------------
This week, I'll be writing on some s is important beyond the surface story. Have a blessed and healing weekend.