Will organic sales still go up in ’09?

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) reported that total organic sales last year grew 17% despite tough economic times.

USorganic food sales grew 16% to reach $22.9 billion, while organicnon-food sales grew 39% to $1.648 billion. Organic food sales is saidto now account for 3.5% of all food product sales in the US.

Accordingto OTA, drivers for the increase include increasing stores offeringorganic products. Major organic brands are also offering more coupons,and value-positioned products, while private label brands have alsoincreased contributing to more sales.

It must be true as I’ve visited Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s a couple of times, and they’re always packed!

But I do wonder about the organic non-food marketthough. Food maybe one thing but when it comes to cosmetics andpersonal care products (and even organic fabrics), consumers might be alittle bit more thrifty in that area. As far as I heard, organiccosmetics and toiletries still have premiums compared to theirnaturals-category sibling.

Consulting firm Kline & Companyalso noted in one of their recent cosmetic & toiletries report thatgiven the current economic climate, marketers may likely forgo theextra cost for certified organic ingredients in lieu ofnatural-inspired cosmetic and personal care products (productswith ingredients that range from unnatural to those that are naturalwherever chemistry allows but also include silicones, polysorbates,ethoxylates or chemical derivatives…).

“Manufacturersare weighing the value of investing in certification against thepotential return on that investment,” says Kline.

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