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The New Organics Index
Trends worth watching in organic food and farming.

The New Organics Index comes to you courtesy of the New Organics Company, producers of the first-ever comprehensive line of affordable packaged organic foods sold only in grocery stores. Their website also features a great marketing resource, 10 Reasons to Buy Organic.

  • Organic food sales in 1980: $178 million.
  • In 1995: $2.8 billion.
  • In 1996: $3.5 billion.
  • Projected in five years: $10 billion.

  • Percent annual growth of organic food sales for the last 3 years: 25.
  • Percent annual growth of conventional food sales for the last 3 years: 3.

  • Rank of organic foods among the nation's top five food trends: 1.

  • Number of organic farmers in the U.S. in 1991: 2,841.
  • In 1994: 4,060.
  • In 1997: 12,000.

  • Acres of land devoted to organic farming in 1991: 550,267.
  • In 1994: 1,127,000.

  • Number of nationally surveyed consumers who said they were concerned about agricultural pesticides: 7 out of 10.

  • Percent of insecticides the Environmental Protection Agency considers potentially cancer-causing: 30.
  • Percent of herbicides: 60.
  • Percent of fungicides: 90.

  • Rank of American age groups 40 to 49, 18 to 29, and 60 and older that are most likely to buy organic food: 1, 2, 3.

  • Percent of consumers surveyed nationwide who had purchased organic food during the past six months: 23.
  • Percent of those consumers who were satisfied with their purchases: 97.

  • Rank of tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and apples among the most commonly purchased organic foods: 1, 2, 3, 4.

  • Percent of upscale restaurants that offer organic items: 57.

  • Percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture research budget that funds organic farming projects: 0.1.

Sources: USDA, Whole Foods, 1996 Food Marketing Institute study, Natural Foods Merchandiser, Delicious!, National Restaurant Association, 1996 Fresh Trends report published in The Packer, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, The Wall Street Journal, Health Journal by Marilyn Chase, industry analyst Sara Starr of Starr Track, Organic Trade Association.

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