Organic food is everywhere, from nationwide retailers to the local corner store, and facing increased price competition that slowed sales growth to its lowest rate since 2009, said the Organic Trade Association in an annual report on Wednesday.
A new consortium is launching a non-profit at a major natural foods trade fair Wednesday, trying to help mission-driven companies transition ownership to future generations without selling out their values to win venture capital or corporate ownership.
Four months after the Trump administration killed a proposal for a mandatory checkoff program for organics, the industry’s largest trade group said it would move forward with a voluntary checkoff to promote organic food and products.
On Thursday, Laura Batcha, chief executive of the Organic Trade Association, announced an OTA pilot project to prevent fraud in the organics supply chain. The group, she said, is also exploring a voluntary program to fund promotion and research for organics.
Americans purchased a record $45.2 billion worth of organic food last year - half of it in fruit, vegetables, dairy and eggs - as organics took a still-larger share of U.S. spending on food, said a survey commissioned by the Organic Trade Association. Sales of organic food more than doubled in the past decade and now account for 5.5 percent of grocery sales.
The Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture issued a preliminary notice Friday morning terminating the proposed organic checkoff program. The program, which was controversial among organic industry stakeholders, would have funded research and marketing for organic products. No paywall
Two months after an advisory board voted to deny organic certification to aeroponic agriculture, the USDA said aeroponic crops remain eligible for the organic seal. "USDA will consider this [advisory] recommendation; aeroponics remains allowed during this review," said the Agricultural Marketing Service in a bulletin to organic growers.
Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey says modifications to three USDA conservation programs will help organic farmers get established. A member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Casey said with demand on the rise for organic food, "we must do all we can to help American farmers and ranchers meet this demand."
With demand for organic food outrunning U.S. production, state agriculture departments frequently have too little money and limited expertise to help the sector grow, says a report by the Berkeley Food Institute. It recommends states dedicate more money and personnel "to keep up with the growing organic market" and include organic agriculture in "state pride" programs that trumpet local products.
Congress would double the USDA’s annual funding to oversee the booming organic agriculture sector and would provide an additional $5 million to prevent fraudulent organic imports under a bill filed by six U.S. representatives. An industry trade group said the bill would help the National Organic Program (NOP) keep pace with ever-increasing production and rapidly rising consumer demand for organics.