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News archive: November 2009

Organic food sales rising in the US

Sales for organic and ethical products in the US are rising – more so than sales for conventional products – and consumer demand for those products is increasing despite the global economic downturn, according to a report published in October by Packaged Facts. Approximately one quarter of US adult shoppers buy certified organic food or beverages and one third continue to pay more for organic foods, says the report.

Consumers are buying products that are perceived to fulfill ecofriendly, natural, organic, local, or humane requirements and enhance a company’s corporate responsibility profile. US retailers like WalMart and Safeway are expanding their offerings of organic goods. And leading the way are increased sales of organic breads and grain products and “ethical” drinks, according to market reports.

According to the Organic Trade Association, US supermarket sales of environmentally sustainable or ethical products could rise 8.7 percent by the end of 2009 to nearly $38 billion. In 2008, sales of goods specifically labelled organic rose 17 percent to $ 24.6 billion.

Increased sales for “greener” products – whether energy-efficient lightbulbs or organic produce – are likely the result of increased awareness of sustainability issues in the face of the global economic crisis and climate change, experts say.

“With the economy foremost in consumers’ minds, heightened price sensitivity in the midst of the current recession is inevitably having an effect on the market for ethical products,” said Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “However, our survey indicates that more shoppers understand the environmental, social, and economic implications of their choices. The result is a sizable number of consumers who will purchase typically more expensive ethical products even in economically challenging times.”

The report “Ethical Food and Beverage, Personal Care and Household Products in the U.S.” is available at www.reportbuyer.com/go/PKF00176

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