Organic Food Trends

 USDA Organic label
       Courtesy of USDA.

Organic agriculture, a worldwide growth industry, can be a profitable, sustainable business for agricultural producers interested in going through the certification process necessary to enter this market. Organics have continued to expand during the last few years, and industry experts are forecasting steady growth of 9 percent or higher (OTA 2012).

Rapid growth in the organic sector has highlighted issues that need to be addressed: shortages of organic raw materials such as organic grain and organic sugar and competition from food marketed as “locally grown" or "natural." A shortage of affordable organic ingredients or products, such as corn and soybeans for livestock feed, left organic producers unable to meet market demand.  (ERS 2009)  November 2013 . . .  Organic Food Trends



  • 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey, NASS, USADA, 2012.
  • 2008 Organic Production Survey, Census of Agriculture, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2010.
  • Organic Farmers: Steps to Success, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, 2012 - This free farm management resource for organic farmers contains five simple worksheets to help the farmers assess their own management and financial strengths and identify areas they want to improve.
  • Organic Production, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, National Ag Library, USDA.
  • Organic Livestock Feed Suppliers, ATTRA, NCAT.
  • Organic Production, ERS, USDA - This site includes data on the certified organic farmland acreage and livestock in the United States.
  • Protecting the Integrity of Organic Grains During Harvest, Rodale Institute, 2004 - Develop strict cleaning protocol for harvesting and handling equipment to keep grain clean, pure and uncontaminated.
  • Organic Risk Management, University of Minnesota, 2010 - This free online manual and website will help organic farmers understand the risks in organic production and make choices that minimize those risks.
  • Understanding Organic Pricing and Costs of Production, ATTRA, NCAT, 2012 - This new ATTRA publication provides resources to compare organic and conventional agriculture prices, discusses organic production costs and offers tips on how to set organic crop prices. It also includes case studies of successful organic farmers and ranchers in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington.
  • USDA-Certified Organic Operations, AMS, USDA - This database lists the organic production and handling operations around the world that were certified as of January 2012. A search feature allows users to search by certifying agent, country, products produced, etc.

State Reports

International Reports

  • Australian Organic Market Report, Biological Farmers of Australia, 2012 - This report attempts to define the size and extent of the organic industry in Australia.
  • Canada’s Organic Market: 2013 National Highlights, Canada Organic Trade Association - This comprehensive study of Canada's organic marketplace indicates that the country's organic market grew to nearly $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching nearly $3 billion.
  • China Organics Report, Global Ag Information Network (GAIN) Report, FAS, USDA, 2010 - Some analysts expect domestic sales of organic products in China to be as high as $3.6 to $8.7 million by 2015.
  • Organic Foods Find Growing Niche in Mexico, GAIN Report, FAS, USDA, 2011 - Demand for organic food products in Mexico has been growing over the last few years, making Mexico an attractive market for U.S. exporters of organic food products.
  • Organic Market Report, Soil Association, United Kingdom (UK), 2012 - This report is the definitive guide to organic trade in the UK.
  • Organic Production, Agriculture and AgriFood Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.
  • The World of Organic Agriculture, International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Foundation Ecology & Agriculture (SÖL) and Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), 2012 - Demand for organic products in 2010 was concentrated in two regions: North America and Europe. The countries with the largest markets were the United States, Germany and France.

Transitioning to Organic

Links to Other Sites

  • National Organic Program, AMS, USDA.
  • Organic Agriculture Program, Iowa State University Extension - The Organic Agriculture Program educates producers, consumers and policy makers in the research and extension activities in organic agriculture both on-farm and in the universities.
  • The Organic Center - A center that seeks to "generate credible, peer reviewed scientific information and communicate the verifiable benefits of organic farming and products to society."
  • Organic Trade Association

Links checked January 2013.