By Rieva Lessonky
Sales of organic goods are soaring. And while it’s not just organic food that consumers are embracing, food and beverages are a big part of organic products’ growth. According to Laurie Demeritt, president of market research firm The Hartman Group, and despite a report released early in 2013 which said organic food was no more nutritious than “regular” food, consumers will continue to buy organic products because of the “other quality and health notions [organic] represents, like authentic, pure and, most importantly, the halo of being free from negative ingredients.”
The Organic and Natural 2012 report, released a few months ago by The Hartman Group, says more than 50 percent of consumers eat organic because the food doesn’t contain “pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives and antibiotics.”
This sounds like great news for owners of restaurants, catering companies and health and food stores, but organic, as I said, is about more than food. Another new report, this one from the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2012 Organic Industry Survey, shows organic sales reaching $31.5 billion in 2011, a 9.5 percent overall growth in revenues from 2010. And yes, food and beverages account for the overwhelming majority of sales-a little more than $29 billion, led by meat, fish and poultry sales with 13 percent growth.
Clothes, household products (such as cleaning products, sheets and towels), cosmetics and other non-food organic products also did well, boasting sales growth of 11 percent to $2.2 billion (compared to 5 percent growth of similar non-organic products).
If you sell (or plan to) organic goods, remember consumers have high expectations of your business. They assume you’re going to be more transparent than other companies, so be sure to offer details about the products you sell. Marketing is critical. Whether you own a restaurant or spa/salon, if you sell organic products, make sure to tout it in your marketing materials.