Sales of organic products grew 17 percent in 2008 despite the struggling economy, reports a study from the Organic Trade Association. Food and non-food products together brought in $24.6 billion.
The survey, conducted by Lieberman Research Group on behalf of OTA, measured the growth of U.S. sales of organic foods and beverages as well as non-food categories such as organic fibers, personal care products and pet foods during 2008. Results show organic food sales grew in 2008 by 15.8 percent to reach $22.9 billion, while organic non-food sales grew by an astounding 39.4 percent to reach $1.648 billion. As a result, organic food sales now account for approximately 3.5 percent of all food product sales in the United States.
Even though the industry seems to be growing, the cost of organics can be prohibitive. That's why the Environmental Working Group publishes an annual list of the "Dirty Dozen," or the 12 fruits and vegetables that carry the most pesticide residue. If you're going to spend money on organics, it's better to put it towards produce on that list, rather than the "Clean Fifteen," or the fruits and vegetables least likely to carry residue. Since it's hard to memorize a list of 27 items, here's a good rule of thumb: If it has a tough or inedible skin or rind, conventional is probably ok. If it has a delicate, edible skin, it's likely a member of the Dirty Dozen.
The Dirty Dozen
- Bell Pepper
The Clean Fifteen
- Sweet Corn
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potato