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The North American organic coffee market topped $1.4 billion last year, according to data released by market analyst Daniele Giovannucci at the recent fifth annual tasting event hosted by the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), at New York’s Union Square Cafe. Even during a recession, Giovannucci found, organic coffee continued to be the single most valuable organic product imported into the region.
Giovannucci’s “North American Organic Coffee Industry Report 2010” noted that over 93 million pounds of organic coffee were imported into the United States and Canada in 2009. The average annual growth rate of 21 percent for organic coffee documented by the researcher from 2004 to 2009 far outpaces the estimated 1 percent annual growth of the conventional coffee industry.
“The 4.1 percent growth of the organic coffee market this past year is an important achievement for a higher-priced product during a recession and when much of the conventional coffee industry has been stagnant,” said Giovannuci, a recognized expert on sustainability.
Added Christine Bushway, executive director of Greenfield, Mass.-based OTA: “It’s not surprising that demand for organic coffee is growing. Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the attributes of organic coffee — its benefits not only to the environment and health, but also to the livelihoods of the farmers who produce it.”
The report, available from OTA, discusses the origins, volumes and prices of organic coffee, as well as the trends that influence the markets for these and other coffees certified to Bird Friendly, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ CERTIFIED and Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Practices standards.
Recent data from the Organic Trade Association's 2010 Organic Industry Survey shows that U.S. sales of organic products, including food and nonfood, came to $26.6 billion by the close of 2009, growing 5.1 percent over 2008 sales, vs. 1.5 percent for conventional industry’s sales growth.