Fading organic movement ratchets up fear-based marketing campaign


The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

The organic-products industry is running scared. Challenged by progress in modern genetic engineering and state-of-the-art pesticides the organic movement is ratcheting up its rhetoric while trying to expand a consumer base that shows signs of stagnating.

A recent study shows that organic sales “have hit something of a plateau” and that about half of consumers think an organic label is just an excuse to charge more money.

“Let me be clear about one thing, the organic label is a marketing tool,” said then secretary of agriculture Dan Glickman when organic certification was being considered. “It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is ‘organic’ a value judgment about nutrition or quality.”

In spite of its “good vibes,” organic farming is an affront to the environment. Plant pathologist Dr. Steve Savage recently analyzed the data from USDA’s 2014 Organic Survey and compared yields at organic farms to those at conventional farms. Of the 68 crops surveyed, there was a “yield gap” — poorer performance of organic farms — in 59.

These findings are important. As Savage observed: “To have raised all U.S. crops as organic in 2014 would have required farming of 109 million more acres of land. That is an area equivalent to all the parkland and wildland areas in the lower 48 states.” Organic agriculture wastes not only land but water.

Genetic engineering is providing consumer-friendly as well as agronomically important traits including potatoes that produce less of the carcinogen acrylamide when fried, to apples that resist browning, to papayas and oranges that resist disease.

Like the buggy-whip manufacturers who ridiculed and reviled the horseless carriage, the organic industry is on the wrong side of history.

Read full, original post: Organic Farms, Wasting Water and Land for Far Lower Yields

  • Never Ending Food

    I don’t know where you guys get your facts from, but according to USDA statistics, sales from organic farms in the U.S. are skyrocketing, up 72% since 2008…with $5.5 billion worth of organic products purchased last year alone. (http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2012/Online_Resources/Organics/ORGANICS.pdf)

    • WeGotta

      This is a “no fact” zone.

    • gmoeater

      Actually, Never, Gary Hirshberg, the CEO of Stoneybrook, who testified in front of the Senate Ag committee last week in Congress, says organic is a $40 Billion industry. With a “B.” That’s Big Organic. Lots of money buying lots of testimony from Charles Benbrook and his ilk.

  • gmoeater

    What the organic marketing people don’t realize, is that there are many of us who appreciate the “organic” and “non-GMO” labels, because it helps us avoid them. Why? Because of the hyped up marketing, the cost, the e.coli contamination (I’ll never ever eat at Chipotle), and the sense of hubris.

  • Farmer Sue

    Good article. “Organic only” is also on the wrong side of farming. Great for small niche markets, but not so great for growing large acreages of crops. Not so great for the yield, soil, water, or weeds, either. If it was so great, farmers would be all farming organic, right? That should tell us something.

    • WeGotta

      This is just what a stupid food system looks like. Farmers are caught up in it. Just running around trying to make a buck like the rest of us chumps.

      Every community is a “niche market”.

      And your assertions about the soil and water are laughable.

  • Never Ending Food

    From NBC News…”Americans are buying a lot more organic foods than we used to according to a new survey from the Department of Agriculture…A new USDA survey reports sales up 72 percent since 2008.”


  • Never Ending Food

    From Wisconsin…”With Wisconsin being listed as one of the top states across the nation for organic farming Kostas says his business is increasing. A growth he attributes, in part, to health awareness…“We give them the best product we possibly can right from the product to the store,” said Kostka.”


  • Never Ending Food

    From the Organic Trade Association (OTA)…”Sales of organic food and non-food products in the United States broke through another record in 2014, totaling $39.1 billion, up 11.3 percent from the previous year. Organic sales now near a milestone 5 percent share of the total food market.”


  • Never Ending Food

    Also from Wisconsin…”Justin said in 11 years of farming and three years of doing organic produce full-time, 2015 has been his best year…Annake Ramsey, produce program manager at Organic Valley in La Farge, said the cooperative has projected fresh produce sales of $6.79 million for 2015.”


  • Never Ending Food

    From the article…”Organic foods sales exceeded $39 billion in 2015, according to the Organic Trade Association. While that is only about 5 percent of the revenue generated by food sales in general, it’s a growing sector that has supermarket chains fully engaged. As of 2000, reports the USDA, 49 percent of all organic products was sold in conventional supermarkets.” And that command of the market has continued to grow. Retailers like Safeway, Albertsons (co-owned now), Walmart and niche locations like Trader Joe’s now outsell the corner natural food stores, which have, in some cases, become the more expensive go-to places for high-quality, less-mainstream natural and organic products.”