Different countries across the world have their own established guidelines that determine what makes a food product organic. Generally, organic food has been grown or farmed using an organic farming system that prohibits chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms.
Since organic food is also free of artificial additives like preservatives, coloring, sweeteners, flavoring, and monosodium glutamate, it is believed to be healthier and has gained immense popularity worldwide.
In this article, we have gathered some exciting organic food statistics and facts to satiate your appetite for knowledge. Dive in to learn more about the consumption statistics, the global organic food market, and so much more!
Top 10 Organic Food Statistics and Facts
- Organic food is more nutritious than conventional food.
- Sikkim is the world’s first 100% organic state.
- In 2018, the amount of organic farmland in the world increased by 2 million hectares.
- Worldwide sales of organic food amounted to about $95 billion in 2018.
- North America has the largest market for organic food worldwide.
- India has the highest number of organic food producers in the world.
- In 2018, Switzerland had the highest per-capita organic food consumption in the world.
- Approximately 30% of US households consume organic food.
- Millennials are more willing to pay extra for organic products than older Americans are.
- 41% of consumers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose purchased organic food in 2018.
Fascinating Statistics and Facts About the Organic Food Industry
1. Organic food is more nutritious than conventional food.
According to multiple studies, organic food contains more flavonoids with antioxidant properties that protect the body from cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also has lower levels of pesticides and cadmium and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Sikkim is the world’s first 100% organic state.
(Organic Without Boundaries)
One of the more promising organic food facts is that Sikkim, a state in northeastern India, was declared the first 100% organic state in 2015. The state won a Gold Award for its organic policies, and its transition has benefitted over 66,000 farming families.
3. Organic food is sold in over 20,000 natural food stores in the US.
Organic food in the US is rapidly gaining popularity and is now considered mainstream. Statistics on organic foods indicate that 3 out of 4 conventional grocery stores now sell organic foods, with produce accounting for 43% of organic food sales.
4. In the US, any product labeled as organic must be certified by the USDA.
In order for producers to qualify for the United States Department of Agriculture organic seal, they need to meet strict standards, regulating how the food is grown and processed. This partially explains the high cost of organic food.
However, producers who sell less than $5,000 yearly can label their food organic if they adhered to those standards, but do not need to go through the certification process for the official USDA seal, nor can they display it on their products.
Naturally, the seal is not only reserved for food, and you can often find it on the best appetite suppressants or other similar supplements, the content of which needs to be strictly regulated and monitored.
5. Organic food in the US was 7.5% more expensive than conventional food in 2018.
While organic food is still more expensive, statistics show that the cost of organic food and drink is getting lower. On average, organic food and drink cost 24 cents more per unit than conventional food in 2018, while the difference was 27 cents in 2014.
6. In 2018, the amount of organic farmland in the world increased by 2 million hectares.
(IFOAM Organics International)
That year, there were 71.5 million hectares of organic farmland recorded, representing 1.5% of all the farmland in the world. Statistics on organic food show that half of the global organic farmland was located in Oceania (36 million hectares, with Australia alone accounting for 35.7 million), and Europe had the second largest area with 15.6 million hectares.
7.Production of organic crops requires 50% less energy than the production of conventional crops.
While less energy consumption is extremely beneficial to the environment, organic farming brings up to 70% less yield than conventional farming. A Swedish study revealed that more land use might have a bigger impact on the environment than just the increased emission of greenhouse gases.
8. Organic farming creates more job opportunities than conventional farming.
(The Organic Center)
An organic food industry analysis using census data from counties in California and Washington State revealed that organic farming creates more jobs per acre than conventional farming. Also, the data showed that employees work for more days of the year.
It also needs to be mentioned that this doesn’t only include farming of produce for consumption, but that other products, like the best essential oils or different topicals, are also more often than not based on organic ingredients.
9. According to a survey, more than 90% of Americans buying organic food are doing so to avoid pesticide residues.
This reasoning is supported by verified organic food nutrition facts which show consuming organic food for about a week can reduce the amount of pesticide breakdown products in subjects by 96%. Some 70% said they purchased organic food to avoid GMOs, and 40% said they preferred it because it is more nutritious.
10. Fruits and vegetables like spinach, apples, and strawberries are worth buying organic, as they otherwise contain high levels of pesticides.
According to 2018 organic food vs non-organic food statistics, 1/3 of strawberries produced contained residues of over 10 pesticides. Some 80% of apples contained diphenylamine, 90% of grapes had residues from 5 different pesticides, and spinach, otherwise one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your diet, was found to be contaminated with high concentrations of permethrin.
11. According to a study, more than 50% of new parents worry about the ingredients used in prepared baby foods.
A 2017 study revealed that 31% of consumers in Europe say that organic baby food is essential. In the next 15 years, the number of millennials with children will rise from 25% to 80%. This will greatly impact the organic food industry and increase the demand for organic baby food.
The Global Organic Food Market Size
12. In 2018, the worldwide sales of organic food amounted to about $95 billion.
It was a significant increase from the global organic food sales of $18 billion in 2000. The global organic food market is dominated by North America and Europe.
13. North America has the largest market for organic food worldwide.
According to organic food facts and statistics from 2018, North America accounted for 45% of the total organic food retail sales. Most of its sales were attributed to the United States, which held a 42% share of global retail sales.
14. The global organic dairy products market was valued at $19.4 billion in 2018.
According to recent dairy statistics, the value of the worldwide organic dairy market is expected to increase to $28.7 billion by 2024.
15. The worldwide organic baby food market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1%.
In 2018, the global organic baby food market was valued at $71.4 billion. Organic food industry growth statistics show that with a CAGR of 11.1%, the market will reach $98.9 billion by 2024.
16. In 2018, the global organic coffee market was valued at $6.8 billion.
(Allied Market Research)
With a CAGR of 8.2%, the global organic coffee market is expected to reach $12.6 billion by 2026. When observed by coffee type, the Robusta segment is projected to increase with the highest CAGR of 8.8% between 2019 and 2026.
17. India has the highest number of organic food producers in the world.
Organic food market statistics reveal that India is the number one producer of organic food in the world. In 2017, the country had about 835,000 organic food producers. By 2018, this number rose to over 1.1 million.
18. In 2019, sales of organic food and drink in the UK grew by 4.5%.
By then, the UK organic food and drink sector has been growing for eight consecutive years, hitting £2.45 billion in sales ($3.3 billion). The organic wine category experienced the highest growth of 50% in that year.
19. Germany has the largest market for organic products in the European Union.
According to the sales of organic foods statistics, Germany led the European market with retail sales of 10.9 billion euros in 2018 ($14.7 billion). In the same year, Denmark had the highest organic market share worldwide, with 11.5% of their overall food sales being accounted for by the organic sales.
20. Organic food sales in the US reached $50.1 billion in 2019.
(New Hope Network)
The organic food industry registered an impressive CAGR of 4.6% from the previous year. The organic food market rose higher than its conventional counterparts in that year.
21. In 2019, organic fruit and vegetables retail sales amounted to $18 billion in the US.
Which is not the least bit surprising when you take a look at the fruit consumption statistics for the year. At the same time, the organic dairy category amassed approximately $6.6 billion in retail sales.
The Demographics of Organic Food Buyers; Consumption Statistics and Facts
22. In 2018, Switzerland had the highest per-capita organic food consumption in the world.
With over 6,600 organic farms, Switzerland leads ahead of Denmark and Sweden as the country that consumes the most organic products in the world. In 2018, the average Swiss consumer purchased about 312 euros ($382) of organic food.
23. Approximately 30% of US households consume organic food.
Consumer trends in organic food show that fresh organic produce like fruits (34%) and vegetables (31%) were the most popular organic food products in homes. Also, the amount of grocery shoppers seeking out organic food has grown over the last couple of years, reaching nearly 30%.
24. About 83% of Americans purchase organic foods at least some of the time.
According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), organic foods are becoming more popular among Americans. Organic food popularity statistics show that they are more mainstream today than about six years ago when only 30% of Americans bought organic foods at least some of the time.
25. A 2017 survey results show that 50% of American consumers will most likely buy fresh organic produce such as vegetables and fruits.
Vegetables and fruit are the leading organic food categories among US consumers. Organic food statistics reveal that 41% of consumers buy poultry, meats, and seafood, while 39% buy juice, and 38% choose milk, yogurt, and dairy.
26. About 13% of survey respondents say they purchase organic foods online.
A survey revealed that the most popular channel for purchasing organic food and drinks are supermarkets (55%). At the same time, 36% of the respondents said they buy their organic food from mass merchandisers.
27. Organic food products are preferred by younger Americans.
Organic food consumers statistics from a 2019 survey revealed that over 36% of Americans aged 18 to 29 prefer organic food. The same is also true for 19% of 30 to 49-year-olds and 12% of 50 to 64-year-olds who also buy organic food.
28. Older millennials are willing to pay extra for organic products compared to the retirees.
One of the most significant organic food trends from 2018 was that 41% of millennials were willing to pay a premium price for natural organic products compared to just 18% of retirees and seniors.
29. Organic food consumption is more prevalent among Americans with high incomes.
According to a survey, 31.76% of Americans with high income said they prefer organic food. This is notably higher than just 23.16% of respondents with low income that purchase organic food.
30. According to a survey, consumers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose purchased the most organic food in the US in 2018.
Organic food consumption statistics gathered from a survey showed that approximately 41% of consumers in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose purchased organic food in that year. About 34% in Seattle and Tacoma and 31% in Denver, San Diego, and Austin also purchased organic food.
31. In 2018, females purchased more organic dairy products than males.
An interesting fact about organic food is that compared to 35% of males, 38% of females had bought an organic dairy product in the past 12 months.
32. In the US, organic food is mostly preferred by Caucasians.
A 2016 survey to determine what ethnicity purchases the most organic food in the country revealed that 79% of Caucasians buy organic food. It was significantly higher than 12% of African Americans, 12% of Hispanics, and 8% of Asians/Pacific Islanders.
What percentage of food is organic?
The percentage of food that is considered organic is determined by the number of organic ingredients in each food product. That is the number of ingredients that were not produced with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
According to the guidelines set by the United States Department of Agriculture, if a food product contains at least 95% of organic ingredients, then it can be labeled organic and carry the official USDA seal. If just 70% of the product is organic, it should be labeled “made with organic ingredients.” In 2018, 5.7% of food sold in the US was organic.
Is organic food really better for you?
There is limited scientific literature on whether organic food is better than conventional food. However, consuming organic food reduces the amount of pesticide residue in the body.
Organic food also contains higher vitamin C levels, some minerals, and antioxidants, which can protect the body from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Since there were 9.6 million deaths caused by cancer worldwide in 2018, anything we could to bring down those numbers deserves serious looking into.
Is the organic food industry growing?
The global organic food industry is growing at an impressive rate. In 2000, the global organic food market was valued at $18 billion. By 2018, it rose to $95 billion. North America leads the industry with a market share of 45%.
The organic food industry is the fastest-growing sector of the United States food industry. In 2018, the US organic food sales grew by 5.9%, reaching $47.9 billion.
Why has organic food become more popular?
Organic food has become more popular because people are becoming more health-conscious and striving to protect animals and the environment. Since organic food is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides, many people believe it is much healthier than the alternatives.
Additionally, more people, especially millennials, prefer organic farming because animals are otherwise often raised in inhumane conditions. The organic farming system has also been proven to sustain the environment better than conventional farming techniques.
What foods are not worth buying organic?
While some crops are known to absorb pesticides in large quantities, others only contain a trace amount of pesticides and other chemicals. Knowing these foods can help you save money as they are barely harmful and are not worth buying organic.
These foods include fruits and vegetables like sweet corn, onion, cabbage, asparagus, frozen sweet pea, papaya, eggplant, pineapple, grapefruit, mango, kiwi, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and avocado, which has more potassium than a banana and can lower your LDL cholesterol by up to 22%.
What qualifies food as organic?
Food products can be certified as organic if grown on soil with no prohibited substances like chemical fertilizers and pesticides applied in the last three years. For processed foods, the products must not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
In the case of organic meat, the USDA requires that the animals have to be fed 100% organic feed, raised in proper living conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors, and must not be given hormones or antibiotics.
Why do organic foods cost more than non-organic?
Organic foods are more expensive than conventional non-organic food products because the cost of production is usually higher. The organic farming system typically involves more labor, but the farmers never produce enough of a single crop to reduce the total cost. Organic foods also cost more because the organic food supply is highly limited compared to demand.
Additionally, the handling of organic foods after harvest is usually more expensive due to the small quantities. This also affects the marketing and distribution chain as they tend to cost more and are relatively inefficient.
However, as the demand for organic products increases, coupled with technological innovations, the price of organic food is expected to decline.
The rising popularity of organic food proves that it is here to stay, as more people are choosing it over its conventional counterpart.
While there may be little scientific evidence proving that it is more nutritious than non-organic food, many people prefer it because it helps with the preservation of the environment and protects the animals. The organic food farming system also creates more sustainable job opportunities in several communities.
Organic food statistics show that as more people introduce organic foods into their diets, the organic food market will grow significantly in the future. According to experts, North America and Europe will continue to dominate the global market while India takes the lead when it comes to the actual number of individual organic food producers.
- Allied Market Research
- Barry Callebaut
- Environmental Technology
- IFOAM Organics International
- Mayo Clinic
- Mordor Intelligence
- New Hope Network
- Organic Authority
- Organic Without Boundaries
- PR Newswire
- The Guardian
- The Organic Center