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August 2016 Issue

Organic Food Goes Mainstream

Organic foods, once a small niche in the supermarket, are on the rise. The USDA reported an increase of U.S. certified operations by 12 percent between 2014 and 2015. And a 2016 survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association found that 35 percent of U.S. families make a great deal of effort to choose organic foods, a number that rises to 74 percent when you include families that make at least a minor effort to purchase organic foods. Additionally, one-third of parents list it among their top three priorities when buying food, though focusing on organics is less important than price, taste, and nutrition, overall.

Parents listed their top food priorities for buying organic: fruits and vegetables (89 percent), baby foods (84 percent), meat (83 percent), and dairy (81 percent). As shoppers work their way into the center of the store, focus on organics falls. More than one-third of shoppers said they would buy more organic products if more were available at their store. However, one-fourth said they don’t understand the label, and 40 percent of those surveyed did not feel that food needs to be organic, as long as it is healthy. It’s a good thing to support sustainable agriculture, but just remember—an organic junk food is still junk food.

Sharon Palmer, RDN, EN Editor