click image to zoomVicky BoydAlthough organics still remain a small portion of overall food sales, they grew by 12 percent in 2013, hitting a record $35.1 billion in sales, according to a report released by the Organic Trade Association, Brattleboro, Vt.
The growth rate also marked the fastest climb during the past five years.
The growth rate of organic food and non-food items also continues to outpace comparable conventional sales growth, which averaged 3 percent in 2013, according to the report's executive summary.
The organic food industry grew $3.3 billion in 2013, with fruits and vegetables accounting for 46 percent of new dollars, according to the summary. That's $1.5 billion in new sales.
Overall, organic snack foods and fruits and vegetables recorded 15 percent growth, up slightly from the 14 percent and 13 percent growth, respectively, reported in 2012.
Within the organic category itself, fruits and vegetables represented 36 percent of all sales in 2013, followed by dairy, 15.2 percent; packaged and prepared foods, 14.7 percent; and beverages, 12.3 percent.
Organic food still comprises a small part of the overall market, accounting for about 4 percent but up from 2 percent in 2003, according to the summary.
The survey was conducted from Jan. 27-April 5, with more than 200 companies responding.