There has been an increase in demand for organic food all over the world owing to consumer perception of such foods. These perceptions include various notions that organic foods are safe, ethical and clean in nature (Hamstra 2013). It is estimated that within a few years, the growth of organic food markets will have increased from 12 to 20%.
In 2005 alone, the organic food market made sales of between $ 29 and 31 billion (Hui-Shung, Griffith, Zepeda 2003). One of the countries that has faced a high growth rate in the organic food market in the recent years is the United States.
On the other hand, Australia has a well established organic food market. Consequently, the aim of the paper is to carry out a comparative analysis of the United States and Australia in regards to the organic food market, their availability and accessibility.
Food Statistics World Wide
According to the week 5 lecture notes, the world has grown immensely over the last few decades (week 5 lecture notes n.d.). The lecture notes further indicate that the global population has attained immense growth over the years and that people’s perceptions have revolutionized proportionately (Smed et al. 2013).
As a result, most people have resorted to organic farming. In order to meet the growing demand for food across the globe, it has become necessary to develop additional means of food production. Consequently, organic food farming has emerged as a potential means of filling this need (Hughner et al. 2007).
There is a dire need to improve food production if at all we are to overcome the global challenge of malnutrition. In the United States for instance, among the 11.9 % percent of people that indulge in unhealthy diets, 60 % are children (Hughner et al. 2007). The same problem is present in Australia where almost 60% of the population is overweight (Week 10 lecture notes n.d.).
Most people in these nations prefer organic foods over conventional products owing to perceptions that their consumption is associated with positive health and nutritional effects. In contrast with the perceived benefits of organic foods, most of the consumers who said that they would buy organic foods cited that they would do so as a way of avoiding harmful chemicals used while manufacturing conventional food products.
The health perception among the organic food consumers is one of the key parameters that are considered in the purchase of organic food products. For most purchasers, it is the egoistic motive that shapes the purchase option more than the altruistic motive.
A Comparative Analysis of Australia and the USA
Approximately 2.7 million hectares of land in the United States are used for organic farming (Hui-Shung et al. 2003). The organic market in the United States grew by about 29 billion dollars in 2010. This equivalent to an 8 percent growth (Hui-Shung et al. 2003). It is further noted that in 2009, organic food production increased to about 7.7% with the organic supplements taking the lead with about 681 million dollars worth of food.
This is the equivalent of 7.4% growth rate (Mobium Group March 2009). Contrary to the United States, Australia has set aside 12 million hectares to organic farming (Hui-Shung et al. 2003). The organic market in Australia has enjoyed tremendous growth in recent years, though one of the key influencing factors for organic farming in the country is the desire to meet the international demand for organic foods.
The Australian organic market is said to have contributed about 947 USD in 2009 (Lockie & Donaghy 2004). This change in market growth rates was witnessed due to the newly established Australian standards for both the organic and the bio dynamic products.
One of the factors that has ensured high productivity in organic foods is the ever growing need among the consumers to know how and where the production of the food takes place (Household and Personal Products 2010).
Most of the organic products that were initially offered in healthy food stores and the food cooperatives have now been spread across the country. As such, most of them are easily accessible and available in supermarkets. There are various types of organic products among the prime products on display in most supermarket chains.
Most of the organic farms in the country spread right from the big cities to the dairy farms. It is important to note that most of the organic farms are scattered all over the east coast (Polacek 2013). The industry has witnessed an exponential growth and now covers all production sectors of the country ranging from the processing plants, wholesalers, logistics, exporters, and retailers, among others (Lockie & Donaghy 2004).
Even though the products offered are small, they are diverse in nature. They include fruits, nuts, meat, and vegetables.There is also the addition of cereals, dairy products, oil seeds, and body care products.
Even though the organic products are quite costly compared to the other conventional products, they still have a wider market. This may be attributed to the fact that most of the people that purchase organic foods are older and have stable incomes. To them, the amount of money they spend on organic foods only constitutes a small percentage of their total income.
On the other hand, the United States has faced a lot of challenges in categorizing what is actually organic and what is not. This is due to poor certifications of organic products in the country. The country has further ensured through federal legislation the establishment of three categories of organic products, depending on the level of organic percentage that they contain.
Those with 95% organic content are referred to as organic, 70 % organic content are labeled as “made with organic content”, less than 70% organic content are still displayed as organic with a listing of the organic products that were used in their manufacture (Nutraceuticals World 2013).
In general, the organic food market in the United States is poor and manufacturers have still not taken their time to produce 100% organic foods. Even though most consumers indulge in their purchases, there is limited confidence in this food market.
Although the organic food industry is new and upcoming, it has been one of the fastest growing industries. A comparison of organic food consumption in Australia and the United States has proven that there is higher access to organic food products in the former, in comparison with the latter.
The organic food industry in the United States is further marred by a discrepancy in determining what is organic and what level of organic substance has been used in the manufacturing process. Australia, on the other hand, has completely embraced the organic food idea and has gone 100% organic in farming and manufacturing of the foods (Lockie & Donaghy 2004).
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Household and Personal Products 2010,’ ‘What “Normal” Organic Growth Might Look Like Across U.S.’, U.S. Perspectives, pp. 17-26.
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Hui-Shung, C, Griffith, G, Zepeda, L 2003.An overview of the organic food products Market in Australia. University of New England, Graduate School of Agricultural and Resource Economics& School of Economics
Lockie, S. and Donaghy, P. 2004. Who consumes organic food in Australia? In: Halpin, D. (ed.) University of New England 2008, Australian Organic Market Report. Biological Farmers of Australia.
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