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Organic Food Boom Has Everyone Taking Notice

Organic Food Boom Has Everyone Taking Notice

“Organic is now part of the picture for everyone from the Hispanic immigrant mother to the hip suburban teen next door. With health issues and food contamination cases in the news, many people have begun looking for safer, more natural food and drink.”
-Marcia Mogelonsky, senior research analyst at Mintel

November 19, 2007 —

A recent study by the market research firm, Mintel, indicates that the organic food boom is quickly transforming from a niche market composed of a minority of dedicated ethical shoppers, to a constant purchasing consideration for most Americans. Last year, 52 percent of Americans consciously purchased organic foods, with 32 percent of adults now saying that they buy organic "as often as possible." Mintel expects this market growth to continue for at least the next 5 years, projecting a 59 percent increase in organic sales by 2012.

Troubling to some though, is the fact that at least a quarter of the organic food sold in the United States is imported. Many in the local foods movement claim that it is more harmful to the environment to buy organic strawberries shipped from Mexico than it is to buy their locally grown, pesticide ridden cousins, because of the carbon emissions associated with transporting them.

But William G. Mosley, a professor of geography and world poverty advocate, writes in a recent editorial that it would be a "cruel joke" to take away the lucrative organic export market from poor farmers in Africa and Latin America, where much of the world's organic and fair trade food is produced. Mosley, like two other authors we've heard from recently, believes that we need to supplement our ethical shopping habits with regulations from government and international trade bodies, to ensure that all food imports live up to basic labor and environmental standards.

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