Organic food sales in the United States from 2000 to 2012 (in million U.S. dollars)*

 Sales in million U.S. dollars
2000 6,100
2001 7,360
2002 8,635
2003 10,381
2004 12,002
2005 14,223
2006 17,221
2007 20,410
2008 23,607
2009 24,803
2010 26,708
2011 29,220
2012** 31,320
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This statistic depicts organic food sales in the United States from 2000 to 2012. In 2010, organic food sales in the United States amounted to about 26.71 billion USD.


Organic food

Organic foods are foods that are manufactured using organic farming standards. Those agricultural standards are regulated by the department of government responsible for them and contain regulations for the cultivation of food and animal welfare. In particular, the use of chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics is not allowed or only partly permitted. In addition, fewer food additives are permitted for the processing of organic foods. In the United States, organic foods are certified by the National Organic Program. Products which have fulfilled the criteria are labeled with the term ‘organic’ on the food packaging.

Organic food sales have experienced tremendous growth in the last decade. For this reason, not only specialized retailers sell organic foods but also traditional supermarkets and discounters. All retail formats have contributed to the success of the organic food industry in the United States. Widely known specialized organic retailers in the United States include Whole Foods Market and Sprouts Farmers Market. Whole Foods Market is the largest specialized organic retailer in the United States with headquarters in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1980 and operates more than 300 stores in the United States.

In general, organic foods are usually offered at a higher price level than their conventional counterparts. Consumers’ main motivations behind the buying behavior towards organic foods tend to be environmental reasons, food safety aspects and the support of local farmers. Whether or not organic foods are healthier and more nutritious compared to conventionally farmed produce is a much debated subject. Up to now, no evidence of significant differences between the two farming methods where taste or health are concerned has been established.

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