A US report puts 2004 organic food and beverage sales at US$10.9bn, an increase of 18% over last year.

In addition to sales, consumer awareness of organic foods has also grown to the point that 90% of the population reports having heard of organics, far exceeding awareness of other food-related subjects such as functional foods, trans-fat, and other concepts.

While approximately 62 million American households, or 30%, used organic products in 2004, this is down from a high of 40% in 2003. This decline may indicate increased usage among a dedicated user base, translating into the higher sales.

There are four distinct organic consumer segments based on strengths of attitudes and usage: devoted, temperate, dabbler and reluctant, with the temperate and devoted representing 90% of all organic spending. According to the report, they are the groups that manufacturers need to reach in order to maintain the sales growth the industry has come to expect.