Organic revolution: Why the US dominates as the world’s largest organic market

Organic revolution: Why the US dominates as the world’s largest organic market

The market for organic products in the United States is experiencing significant growth, presenting a substantial opportunity for international producers. In June, the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce attended the Organic Food Iberia trade show, invited by CAAE, the only Spanish certifying body recognized by the USDA. 

This show, held on June 4th and 5th at IFEMA Madrid, provided us with the opportunity to offer guidance and highlight key business opportunities for producers and exporters to understand and capitalize on this continually growing market.

Spain US Chamber of Commerce in the Organic Food Iberia Trade Show 2024 in Madrid.

With a population of 337 million, the largest GDP in the world ($29 trillion USD), and high purchasing power, the United States stands as the world’s largest market in many respects. One of these is the consumption of organic products, leading significantly over other countries and even surpassing the entire European continent.

According to the “The World of Organic Agriculture 2024” report by FiBL and IFOAM, retail sales of organic products in the United States reached $67.6 billion in 2022, marking a 4% increase from 2021 and showing sustained growth over recent years. This figure accounts for 43% of global sales. To put this into perspective, the entire European continent comprises 39% of global sales, with Germany being the second-largest consumer, accounting for 11% of global sales.

In the U.S. in 2023, 92% of organic product sales were food-related, with the leading categories being Produce (29%), Grocery (22%), Beverages (13%), Dairy & Eggs (12%), Snacks (7%), Frozen (5%), and Meat, Poultry & Seafood (2.9%). Non-food organic product sales were primarily driven by organic clothing and bedding, as well as personal care products.

The U.S. organic food market is dominated by several major retailers, including:

  • Trader Joe’s: Over 570 locations specializing in organic fresh produce.
  • Whole Foods: Known for its wide range of organic products, with more than 500 locations.
  • Sprouts: Specializing in fresh and natural products, with over 410 stores.

Additionally, giants like Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons are expanding their organic product offerings, further facilitating consumer access to these products.

According to the 2024 Statista Consumer Insights Global report, the typical organic food buyer in the U.S. is mostly young, educated, and has significant purchasing power: 59% are men, 49% are Millennials, 12% identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, 61% have a college degree or higher, and 32% fall into the top third of household income. Additionally, the majority (24%) form family units, 26% live in large cities, 22% in medium-sized towns, and only 15% in cities with more than one million inhabitants.

In 2023, American preferences for food and beverages showed a strong trend towards healthier and more sustainable options, with 40% preferring products labeled ‘Natural,’ making it the most popular choice. “Organic” products are also highly valued, with 30% choosing this label. An equal percentage seeks foods without added hormones or steroids. Locally-sourced products are preferred by 29%, supporting local economies and reducing carbon footprints. The “Clean ingredients” label is also important to 29%, seeking products with fewer additives. Additionally, 28% avoid “Non-GMO” products. The “Raised without antibiotics” label is preferred by 24%, reflecting concerns about excessive antibiotic use in livestock in the US. Finally, 15% choose “Plant-based” products, indicating a trend towards more sustainable and healthier diets.

In summary, the U.S. organic food market offers fertile ground for organic product producers and exporters, with Spain being the 7th largest country globally in terms of land area dedicated to organic agriculture. With the right strategy and regulatory compliance, food and beverage exporters can seize this opportunity to consolidate and expand their presence in the world’s largest market.

Jesús Martínez
Jesús Martínez


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