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The Costs and Benefits of a Green Revolution

Americans’ attitudes toward organic products with an added world perspective through these green colored glasses.

green revolution benefits and effects

You've probably purchased something organic from your grocery store in the last year, even if you didn't mean to. Supermarkets across the country are filling their store shelves with a growing amount of organic vegetables, dairy products, canned goods, fruits and meats. These days, it's almost impossible not to pick up an organic product or two on your weekly shopping trips, even if you do it by accident.

Grocery stores have discovered that there's plenty of green in organic foods, green as in dollar bills, that is.

By 2014, U.S. shoppers are expected to spend more than $40 billion annually on organic food. That compares to more than $11 billion in 2005. In fact, the market for organic food is expected to grow by 10.3 percent each year from 2009 through 2014.

Organic food, then, is a big business. And with the media constantly bringing consumers stories of tainted food and recalls at big, commercial food manufacturers and farming businesses, it's little wonder that shell-shocked families are seeking refuge from food parasites and bacteria in organics.

A total of 73 percent of U.S. families have purchased organic foods, with many of these shoppers only purchasing these products recently. A total of 32 percent of families consider themselves new organic buyers, having bought their first organic products in the last two years. An additional 20 percent count themselves as experienced buyers, having purchased organic products for the last five years, while 21 percent call themselves seasoned buyers. These people have bought organic products for more than five years.

Only 27 percent of consumers have never tried organic food or products.

What's incredible is that organic buyers are willing to commit to the products even though it costs them more money. Organic foods always come at a premium. For instance, organic apples generally cost 29 percent more than do conventionally grown apples. Bananas that are organic usually cost 30 percent more than do their non-organic cousins. On the vegetable side, organic green beans cost an average of 26 percent more, spinach 78 percent more and tomatoes 12 percent more.

Still, families are willing to spend this extra cash even in one of the worst economies many of them have seen. The organic business, then, must truly seem like a bonanza to supermarkets: They can charge their customers more for organics, and those customers will buy these pricier products without so much as blinking.

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