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The Organic Revolution:
A Fresh Take on Food Products

With concerns such as food-related illnesses, and global warming, it is growing evidence that a transition to organic and consumer-driven practices is critical for developing a nation that is healthy. In the last few years’ consumer preferences have witnessed a remarkable transformation prominently leaning towards food choices that promote both health and sustainability. This particular trend has laid down the foundation for a rapid expansion of organic food items at an exponential rate. Remarkably enough year-end records show that sales of these items grew from around USD27 billion back in 2010 to about USD 53 billion by the end of 2021 only within the United States itself. An increasing number of customers find themselves attracted to greater accessibility to various kinds like all types of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and even meats and packaged goods. The aim of this blog post will therefore be to provide extensive insights into the realm of organic food products with a focus on their wide range of benefits.


Understanding Organic Food: What Does it Mean?

Organic food refers to crops grown without synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It is significant to mention that organic foods (94%–100%) are free from any pesticide residue in contrast with conventionally grown counterparts. Rather than relying on artificial methods farmers employ natural techniques like crop rotation and composting for maintaining healthy soil conditions and preventing pest infestation. Therefore, organic food is characterized by the absence of harmful chemicals and higher nutrient content. Food products cannot be classified as "organic" unless they fulfill stringent requirements designated by certifying bodies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the European Unions Organic Regulation. These requirements encompass various facets associated with organic farming methods encompassing synthetic pesticide utilization, use of organic fertilizers, adherence to genetic engineering restrictions, and proper treatment of livestock.


Organic Food: How Beneficial it is?

Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated that food produced with the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides may contain trace amounts of harmful substances, which can lead to considerable harm over time. On the other hand, opting for organic food grown naturally without any chemical intervention not only fosters both mental and physical well-being but also has a positive impact on environmental sustainability.

  • Nutritional Value: Many people view organic food products as healthier options as they have more nutrients. Research indicates that organic fruits, vegetables, and animal products may have higher amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vitamin C, zinc, and iron compared to conventionally grown ones. Additionally, a study discovered that more than 75% of adults buy organic food for health-related reasons. Furthermore, organic farming practices prioritize the utilization of natural fertilizers and pest control methods. This approach greatly contributes to the enhancement of soil health resulting in livestock that is more nutrient-rich. As a direct result, the milk and meat produced by these animals exhibit superior quality. Supporting this notion a 2016 European study revealed that organic meat and milk can contain levels of certain nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids up to 50% higher than conventionally produced counterparts.
  • Reduced Exposure to Chemicals: The practice of organic farming strictly refrains from using synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). By choosing organic farming, individuals can effectively decrease their exposure to possibly hazardous chemicals and pesticide residues commonly present in conventionally produced food. Organic farming utilizes natural methods to control pests, including crop rotation, companion planting, and mechanical cultivation. These tactics effectively reduce pest levels by minimizing the necessity for synthetic pesticides. As a result, there are fewer residues in the food we consume.
  • Environmental Impact: Organic farming practices give utmost importance to soil health, biodiversity, and natural resource preservation. Apart from refraining from synthetic inputs, organic farmers utilize organic fertilizers and crop rotation methods to enhance soil fertility, encourage biodiversity, and decrease the necessity for water and energy inputs. In this manner, organic farming practices play a vital role in promoting environmental sustainability and safeguarding natural resources.

Organic Food Myths & Misconceptions

Contrary to popular belief organic food is not always more expensive than conventional food. Although certain organic products may come with a higher price tag, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from. For instance, purchasing in-season produce from local farmers’ markets or becoming a member of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program can often lead to cost savings when compared to buying nonorganic produce at a regular grocery store. Another common misconception is the notion that organic food lacks taste compared to conventional food. Nevertheless, a number of studies have indicated that a significant proportion of individuals actually find organic fruits and vegetables to be preferable in terms of flavor. Surprisingly around 60% of Americans have expressed their belief that organic produce tastes quite similar to conventionally grown produce. This can be attributed to the fact that organic farming practices place a high priority on maintaining soil health. As a result, the produce that is grown tends to have a more pronounced and pleasing flavor. Furthermore, the absence of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in organic farming allows for the true and natural taste of the product to come forth.

The Growing Popularity of Organic Food Products:

  • At present, there are about 20,000 natural food stores across the United States and it is worth noting that roughly three out of every four conventional grocery stores now provide customers with organic food options.
  • In 2020, a noteworthy estimation suggested that around 95 million Americans had chosen to consume organic foods.
  • The organic fresh produce market of the United States has witnessed a remarkable dominance by berries in 2022, followed by carrots, apples, spinach, and tomatoes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers perceived organic food as being healthier and beneficial to their immune systems. According to the 2020 Organic Industry Survey released by the Organic Trade Association, consumers are eating more organic food and using more organic products than ever before. As we navigate through the global COVID-19 pandemic, individuals continue to hold firm beliefs regarding the positive impact of consuming organic food on overall well-being and immune system resilience. These convictions find substantial support in the comprehensive findings shared in the recently released 2020 Organic Industry Survey conducted by Organic Trade Association. This survey sheds light on an unprecedented surge in consumer preference for opting for an increased quantity of organically-sourced nutritional choices. Alongside a heightened reliance on an extensive range of premium quality organic products when compared to preceding years.

In 2019, the sales of organic food and nonfood products mounted to an impressive USD 55.1 billion in the United States, presenting a solid growth of 5% compared to the previous year. The organic food sector alone contributed significantly to this achievement generating USD 50.1 billion in revenue reflecting a notable increase of 4.6%. Moreover, in May 2020 an association conducted a comprehensive online flash poll targeting over 3,180 individuals who were considered "likely organic" shoppers. The results overwhelmingly indicated that organic food shopping has assumed greater importance in the daily lives of these respondents.


Organic Foods & Beverages: Trends & New Products

The concerns of consumers regarding food safety and environmental sustainability have created a surge in the popularity of organic products. In addition to this, the current focus on health and wellness is pushing individuals towards choosing natural and organic ingredients thereby fostering innovation within the organic food and beverage industry. Furthermore, the progress made in agricultural technology and sustainable farming practices is expected to have a substantial impact on the growing trends of organic food production. Innovations like precision farming, vertical farming, and regenerative agriculture hold the potential to augment organic crop yields, diminish expenses and bolster the ecological sustainability of organic farming. The organic industry has been quick to adapt to this growing market trend by diversifying its product offerings. This sector now encompasses a vast array of goods ranging from organic flavors and cereals to snacks, dairy products, and even meat options.

For instance, organic snacks, such as the Growing Roots line from Unilever showcase the steady influx of organic products in the market. This line offers delectable options like organic coconut and seed bites as well as organic corn and seed clusters. Also, 7-Eleven recognizes the increasing desire for healthier choices and is taking advantage of this trend to expand its presence in the beverage market. To cater to consumer preferences for healthier drinks, it introduced 7 Select GoSmart private brands, including an organic cold-pressed juice line aligning with the growing demand for healthier beverages from customers.

The following are the top five categories with the most organic launches across both the U.S. and Canada:

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U.S.

  • Energy & Sports Drinks (+80%)
  • Infant formula (+37%)
  • A variety of RTD coffees and teas (+30%)
  • Drinks rich in nutrition (25%)
  • Bakery (+10%)
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Canada

  • Cereals for breakfast (+110%)
  • Soup (+99%)
  • Carbonated Soft Drinks (+98%)
  • Snacks (+45%)

Making the Switch to Organic Food

In regards to adopting a lifestyle centered around organic food, consumers must prioritize various aspects. Firstly, understanding the appropriate locations for acquiring organic products proves essential. Nowadays numerous grocery stores have specific sections solely dedicated to organic products. However, farmers’ markets and local co-ops can also serve as remarkable alternatives for those seeking healthy and environmentally friendly food options. Also, it would be beneficial to search for items that have been certified organic by a well-respected organization. Additionally, it is prudent to take notice of any supplementary labeling that may indicate whether a product is free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or certain chemicals. Considering that technology and awareness are constantly progressing, it can be inferred that organic farming has the potential to become a crucial component of our food system. By doing so it paves the way for a future that is both sustainable and nourishing.

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Swara Keni

Head- Global Business Development

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