Daily News Archive
From April 19, 2002

Organics Industry Continues to Grow

Michelle Miller of Grand Cayman's Organic Food Group sent us this photo of Kirk Supermarket's produce manager Tony Perkins and Yorick Phoenix also of Grand Cayman's Organic Food Group. Mr. Perkins was recently awarded a "Certificate of Appreciation" for bringing organic produce to the island. During the past nine months, he has developed an extensive organic produce department, which includes leaks, yellow squash, asparagus, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, mushrooms, green peppers, red peppers, onions, cauliflower, and salads. The quality and the variety are great and it nearly always sells out. Organic food lovers island wide are talking about how wonderful the organic produce is, many say that it is the best that they've eaten in years. The organic section of the produce department is an inspiration for other Caribbean countries and small communities worldwide.

While organic food is still a very small part of the overall market, the organic foods industry is booming. Retail sales of organic products have grown steadily for the past ten years. Conservative estimates show a compounded annual growth of 20% each year, or a doubling every five years. The past several years has also shown a shift in availability of organics. Ten years ago, organics were most often found in farmer's markets and health food stores. Now they fill aisles at traditional supermarkets like Kirks.

According to the "Organic Consumer Profile" by the Hartman Group, almost one-third of the U.S. population currently buys organically grown food products. Another 60% does not, but would be willing to try them. Light organic buyers account for 29% of the U.S. population, while 3% are heavy organic buyers. Over half of all organic products are purchased at grocery stores and supermarkets. The most frequently purchased product groups are vegetables, fruits, and cereals/grains.