Sales of organic foods in the United States in 2022 surpassed the $60 billion mark for the first time, setting a new record for the organic products sector. Total organic product sales in the USA, including non-food organic products, reached a record level of $67.6 billion, according to the 2023 Organic Industry Survey published by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Ten states represent approximately three-quarters (73%) of the 2021 sales. California leads the way, representing 32% of the total American market, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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The success of organic products is not a new story in North America. Over the past decade, sales of organic products have more than doubled, with Americans consuming and using more organic products than ever before. Total organic product sales crossed the $50 billion mark for the first time in 2018, and organic food sales reached $50 billion for the first time just a few years ago, in 2019.

For comparison with the new continent: In 2019, the organic market in the European Union approached $45.2 billion, according to the Agence Bio in France. In 2019, 54% of organic products (in value) were consumed in two countries: Germany and France. Germany, France, and Italy have the highest number of specialized stores.

The distribution of organic products across the Atlantic

We can classify the types of stores into three categories: 100% “Organic Market,” natural health & organic store chains, and conventional supermarkets.

1. «Specialized organic stores»

Natural Grocers: one of the few networks with a 100% organic product standard. Founded in 1955, headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, it operates 166 stores in 21 states. Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: NGVC).

Mom’s Organic Market: founded in 1987 by Scott Nash, it has 22 stores in the eastern USA (10 in Maryland) with the slogan «protect and restore the environment» and offers various organic services (electric vehicle charging stations, recycling devices at store entrances for cork caps from wine bottles, shoes, glasses, phones, and electric batteries, etc.).

Bristol Farms Inc. is a high-end grocery store chain in California, USA. Founded in Los Angeles, Bristol Farms operates 19 stores: 14 under the name Bristol Farm and 5 under the Lazy Acres Markets brand in southern California.

Earth Fare (18 stores), Mother’s Market (12 stores), Market of Choice (11 stores), etc.

GreenWise Market will convert its eight GreenWise Market locations into traditional Publix stores.

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123rfLimited©tea. New York (Circa), inside Gourmet Garage, specialty chain store

2. «Natural health & organic» chains

Whole Foods Market: founded in Austin, Texas, in 1978. It is a food distribution company for organic & health products. It is present in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom with over 530 stores and 105,000 employees. Amazon acquired Whole Foods Market in 2017 for $13.7 billion. Over 27,000 tons of organic products sold in one year! 37,498 active organic products in stores by the end of 2022. Over 1,200 organic products under the brand «365 by Whole Foods Market».

Trader Joe’s: since 1979, the company has been managed by a family fund organized by German businessman Theo Albrecht, co-founder of Aldi supermarkets. It has 540 stores in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. The stores are relatively small for the USA (about 1,200 square meters) and serve as genuine neighbourhood stores. A limited number of products, around 3,400, and 23% of the products are organic.

Sprout Farmers Market: in 2018, the food retailer operated about 300 stores in 19 states. Sprouts recently opened its 400th store and currently operates in 23 states with 31,000 employees. 26% of its total sales are organic products.

Fresh Thyme Market: 71 stores in 10 midwest states.

3. «Conventional» players

Walmart: 10,500 stores and e-commerce sites in 20 countries with $611 billion in revenue. Organic private label: Great Value Organic.

Kroger: 2,719 supermarkets with a total turnover of $148.3 billion.

Albertsons Companies is an American retail company that operates supermarkets in the western United States with 2,271 stores for $77.6 billion (ACME, Albertsons, Andronico’s Community Markets, Balducci’s, Carrs-Safeway, Eagle, Jewel-Osco, King’s, Lucky, Pak ‘N Save, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star 71 shops in 10 Midwest Market states, Tom Thumb and Vons). O Organics is the leading organic brand sold in Albertsons Cos. stores with over 1,500 USDA-certified organic products.

Target: 1,958 stores in the United States with its organic private label: Good & Gather Organic.

Publix: 1,300 locations throughout the southeast United States, with 4,049 certified organic or made with at least 70% organic ingredient products.

Ahold Delhaize: one of the largest food retail groups in the world with 7,659 stores, 1,108 of them in the USA, including Food Lion.

Author: Gerard Gontier, French Organic Market Expert

Published in the BIOFACH & VIVANESS 2024 Bio Eco Actual Special Edition.

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