Can any type of agricultural product become certified
Yes, any agricultural product that meets certification
requirements may be considered organic. A wide array
of certified organic foods are becoming available,
including coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate bars, pasta,
prepared sauces, frozen juices, frozen meals, milk,
ice cream and frozen novelties, cereals, meat, poultry,
breads, soups, cookies, beer, wine, and vodka. These
foods, in order to be certified organic, have all
been grown and processed according to organic standards
and must maintain a high level of quality.
organic food just a fad?
No! Organic foods have been a particularly
bright spot on the agricultural horizon in recent
years. U. S. retail sales of organic food grew from
$1 billion in 1990, to $5.5 billion in 1998, $6.5
billion in 1999, and nearly $7.8 billion in 2000.
The market for organic foods worldwide has been
growing at 20%25% annually during the 1990s.
Demand for organic products internationally is at
an all time high and still growing rapidly. (statistics
reported by U. S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign
Agricultural Service, AgExporter June 2000.)
Facts on Organics
"Industry observers expect demand for organic
products and commodities around the world to grow.
Core support for organics is strongest among affluent,
educated, health-conscious consumers. The motivations
that first drew them to organics, such as concern
for the environment and their personal health, are
likely to endure. (U. S. Department of Agriculture,
Foreign Agricultural Service, AgExporter June 2000.)
According to a study conducted in March 2001 by
Roper Starch Worldwide for Walnut Acres, 63% of
Americans buy organic foods and beverages at least
some of the time. Forty percent of Americans say
organic foods will be a bigger part of their diet
within one year. (Who Is Eating Organic? And Why?
According to a January 25, 1999, United Nations
Food and Agriculture announcement, "Consumer
demand for organically produced food is on the rise
and provides new market opportunities for farmers
and businesses around the world." United Nations
Food & Agriculture web site, 1999. Organic shoppers
are significantly more likely than other shoppers
to say their diet is very important, and that their
food choices are influenced by environmental issues.
In addition, college educated shoppers are the key
market for organic products. (HealthFocus Inc.,
"What Do Consumers Want from Organics?"
1999.) Globally, consumers now spend $22 billion
a year on organic products. Organic farming is the
fastest growing sector in the agricultural economy.
Nearly half of the major U. S. supermarkets now
carry organic products. In Japan, demand is growing
by more than 20% a year.
Facts on Organics
Demographics: Over 40% of all organic users are
between 3655 years old. Organic users are 25%
more likely to have a bachelor¹s or post-graduate
degree. Organic users and the general population
are moving into closer alignment as organic products
move into the mainstream consciousness. (Organic
Consumer Trends 2001, Natural Marketing Institute.)
The "Organic Lifestyle Shopper Study 2000,"
conducted by the Hartman Group market research firm,
reports that the top five motivators for organic
food and beverage purchases are: health/nutrition,
66%; taste, 38%; food safety, 30%; environment,
26%; and availability, 16%. (Organic Lifestyle Shopper
Study 2000, The Hartman Group.)
Facts on Organics
According to the 15-year study "Farming Systems
Trial" conducted by the Rodale Institute of
Pennsylvania, organic agriculture can reduce greenhouse
gas emissions and, on average, uses 50% less energy
than conventional farming methods. (Lori Drinkwater,
"Legume-based Cropping Systems Have Reduced
Carbon and Nitrogen Losses," Nature magazine,
Nov. 18, 1998, pp. 262265.)
Purchasing organic products will help keep
our water supply clean.
Conventional agricultural methods can cause water
contamination. Beginning in May 1995, tap water
was tested for herbicides in cities across the United
States¹ Corn Belt, and in Louisiana and Maryland.
The results revealed widespread contamination of
tap water with many different pesticides at levels
that present serious health risks. In some cities,
herbicides in tap water exceed federal lifetime
health standards for weeks or months at a time.
Toxic chemicals are contaminating groundwater on
every inhabited continent, endangering the world's
most valuable supplies of freshwater, according
to a Worldwatch paper, Deep Trouble: The Hidden
Threat of Groundwater Pollution. Several water utilities
in Germany now pay farmers to switch to organic
operations because this conversion costs less than
removing farm chemicals from water supplies.
The environmental costs of using recommended pesticides
in the United States are estimated to be $9 billion
a year. 67 million birds are killed each year from
the recommended use of pesticides. (David Pimentel,
Environmental and Socio-Economic Costs of Pesticide
Use, Techniques for Reducing Pesticide Use, 1997.)
The Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee
on Environment and Sustainable Development has released
a report entitled "Pesticides: Making the Right
Choice for the Protection of Human Health and the
Environment". The committee stated, ³Where
possible, organic products should be chosen."
It added, "There is a booming domestic and
export market for organic foods. The advantages
of organic farming are many: reduced soil erosion,
retention of soil nutrients, surface and ground
water that is uncontaminated by pesticides."
In coffee-growing countries, where there are fewer
pollution controls in place, contamination of water
supplies is even more serious, and the benefits
of organic farming are even more significant.
Industry Facts on Organics
Restaurant & Institution's Jan. 1, 1998 report
"A Year to Flavor," lists organic produce
as one of the year's biggest trends, stating: "Organic
foods will play a burgeoning role in food service."
In Food & Wine magazine¹s 1997 Chef's Survey,
administered by Louis Harris & Associates, 76
percent of those chefs surveyed responded "Yes"
to the question, "Do you actively seek out
organically grown ingredients?"
According to the U.S. National Restaurant Association,
organic items are now offered by about 57 percent
of restaurants with per person dinner cheques of
$25 or more. In addition, 29 percent of restaurants
with prices in the $15 to $24 range also offer organic
The winner of the "Award of Excellence"
in the "Chef of the Year" category at
the annual International Association for Culinary
Professionals 1997 Awards Ceremony was chef Nora
Pouillon, of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C.
Pouillon estimates 95 percent of the ingredients
used at Restaurant Nora are organic.
Renowned chefs who advocate using organic ingredients
include: Alice Waters, Nora Pouillon, Rick Bayless,
Jesse Cool, Stan Frankenthaler, Peter Hoffman, John
Ash and Charlie Trotter.
In 1998 Swissair became the first air carrier to
serve organic foods to passengers. The change came
after surveys showed that customers wanted food
that is "fresh and natural."
is not just common sense anymore, now that business
has found that consumers really want this they will
also endeavor to protect the environment because
it has become profitable.