The impact of consumer demand for organic products has become more profound than ever before. There are many reasons why this shift in market share is taking place, but one of the most important contributing factors is the rising cost of conventional, non-organic foods. In addition, with consumers looking to spend less and feeling more concerned about their health, they are turning away from traditional, chemical-laden products in favour of all-natural, healthy options. The result is that the health of society as a whole is being put at risk as people turn to organic food and supplement products as alternatives.
What’s behind this trend? One reason is the impact of chemical contaminants in our air and water. A Harvard study found that trace amounts of common pesticides and herbicides were present in several drinking water supplies across the country. The report stated that these chemicals “are finding their way into the drinking water we expect to consume.” The Harvard researchers estimated that nearly 20 million Americans might be affected by this threat of contamination due to the nation’s reliance on industrial manufacturing.
Another reason for the surge in the organic food market is the rising cost of conventional, non-organic food. According to the Organic Consumer Association, the average family spends almost $750 per year on groceries, making the cost of traditional, non-organic food a significant deterrent to purchasing organic. As a result, sales of organic products have increased while the price of organic groceries has declined. As these trends continue to occur, the organic food market will continue to grow and expand as more Americans switch to healthier eating habits.
In response to this surge in the organic food market, more consumers are looking to the internet for advice on where to purchase organic products. The impact of consumer demand for organic products can be seen in the increased number of online organic stores. A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that one in four online shoppers contacted an organic store to inquire about purchasing products. Also, the government has launched an online tracking system to track the growth and decline of the organic market.
Beyond the impact of consumer demand for organic products, farmers and ranchers have had to deal with the increased costs of handling and processing organic food. Rising fuel costs and high labour costs have impacted the cost of organic food as well, forcing farmers to reduce the crop sizes of certain fruits and vegetables, resulting in lower overall organic fruit and vegetable production. In addition, many farmers have been forced to give their workers a wage increase or other compensation to maintain their jobs. These issues are expected to continue to impact the organic market over time as the industry adjusts to the new realities of labour and fuel costs. However, the increased awareness of customers and the government monitoring of the market have slowed consumer demand for organic products.
Beyond the impact of consumer demand for organic products, the effects of supply and demand are expected to impact the future of the organic market shortly as demand continues to outstrip supply. The current collection of organic food is forecasted to grow faster than the organic market over the next few years, leading to an increased focus by consumers on organic food items. As a result, demand from the supply side of the organic food market will likely remain strong over the next several years, resulting in even more competition between organic food producers. As more consumers become interested in organic food, farmers will be required to increase their production levels to meet consumers’ demands.