The organic industry continued its growth in 2023, the Organic Trade Association said Tuesday in its 2024 Organic Industry and Consumer Survey.

Domestic certified organic sales in 2023 were up 3.4% from 2023 to a record $69.7 billion, with $63.8 billion in sales of organic food and $5.9 billion in organic non-food products. 

The increase was attributed more to higher pricing than unit sales, but OTA said unit sales increased for some items. It added that the gap between organic and conventional product prices is closing and could continue to spur growth. 

The organic supply chain is also beginning to stabilize as manufacturers reported higher confidence for the first time in four years, OTA co-CEO Tom Chapman said at a media briefing. 

Along with lower inflation, he says the survey indicates 2024 will be a “recovery year” for the organic industry. Produce continues to be the largest share of organic sales in 2023 at 29.4%, accounting for more than 15% of total U.S. fruit and vegetable sales. 

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Grocery products such as in-store bakery items and fresh bread were the second largest-selling organic food category, followed by beverages, dairy and eggs and snacks. The survey found younger generations continue to drive organic sales due to their focus on sustainability and potential health benefits. 

Consumers have a high familiarity with and trust in organic products, the survey found; 90% of consumers are familiar with organic claims and 70% trust the USDA Organic seal. Still, confusion over some labeling is increasing with the rise of additional labels or certifications, particularly regenerative claims. 

“There's so many competing claims, labels, standards, or sometimes a complete lack of any standard at all when using the word regenerative and it's just thrown out loosely about one or two practices,” said co-CEO Matthew Dillon. “Right now the consumer confusion seems to be increasing as opposed to congealing into improved awareness.”