New research from Organic Monitor, a business consultancy specialising in the organic market, suggests that organic meat sales are continuing to grow strongly in North America, registering 51% growth in 2005.
Organic Monitor’s research found that the meat sector was the fastest growing organic food sector in North America. Organic meat sales have risen by more than 150% since 2002, and are forecast to continue to grow strongly as retail distribution expands.
In particular, there has been strong demand for organic meat since the first cases of BSE were reported in American and Canadian herds in 2003. “Although the BSE incidents have not eroded consumer confidence in beef products, they have elevated consumer awareness of organic meat production methods,” Organic Monitor said. “Organic beef sales in the US have doubled each year since 2003 partly because of this new consumer awareness of organic meats.”
However, the study also reveals that organic meat growth is being hampered by undersupply. Producers cannot produce sufficient quantities to keep up with rising demand. The report said that the US market for organic meats has become highly import-dependent, with product coming from Latin America, Australasia and Canada.
Chiefly, supply shortages affect the organic beef and pork markets, with over 60% of the organic pork sold in the US currently imported. The study said US producers are deterred by high production costs, lack of certified slaughterhouses and processing plants, and inadequate distribution infrastructure. “Although organic meat production has stepped up since 2004, supply is expected to lag demand for a number of years with imports continuing to meet the shortfall in domestic supply,” Organic Monitor said.