Sales of organic poultry, meat and fish have reached over $1 billion for the first time in 2017, according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA) 2018 Organic Industry Survey. Sales increased a little more than 17 percent to $1.2 billion in value. Changing consumer attitudes and dietary trends are leading drivers for the increased sales.
Market growth in sales volumes of organic poultry from 2016 to 2017 was more than four times that of conventional poultry, nearing nine percent. There were over 19 million organic broilers and 410 thousand organic turkeys that were produced in 2016, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Further growth of the industry is somewhat hampered by the availability of organic grain along with concerns regarding fraudulent grain imports.
Poultry makes up the largest volume of organic meat sales, but organic beef sales have also been increasing significantly. Organic beef still only accounts for one percent of total retail beef volume, but future growth is anticipated as expansion in organic beef production is expected over the next few years. Strong demand for organic beef allows it to be sold at a premium price, 63 percent higher than conventionally produced beef.
The overall organic industry experienced strong growth of more than six percent in 2017, reaching nearly $50 billion in sales for the first time. Organic products also increased their share of the total food market and now comprise nearly six percent of all food items being sold. OTA also reported that the organic dairy and egg category experienced slow growth in 2017 noting USDA’s withdrawal of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices regulation as a potential cause.
Market research from Nielson indicates that this will be another strong year for the organic sector with organic sales for the first quarter of 2018 showing a better growth rate compared to 2017. Some organic commodities demonstrated sales growth of up to 21 percent.