CANADA’S ORGANIC FOOD SECTOR – PROSPERING MARKET WITH CONSUMERS!
When organic products were first introduced into the Canadian market, shopping for such foods required a special trip to a natural foods store or farmers market. As interest in organics grew, organic foods became widely available in conventional supermarkets, but premium prices usually meant only affluent shoppers could afford them. Today, the Canadian organic food sector is flourishing. Welcome to Canada’s Organic Food Sector – Prospering Market with Consumers!
Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials, and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. To be considered organic, products must be certified organic according to the Canadian Organic Standard and certification must be carried out by a certifying body recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Though fruits and vegetables are usually the top-selling organic food, jams and spreads represent the fastest growing category as outlined in Chart 1.
Fastest Growing Organic Food and Drink Categories 2015
“Organic is the fastest growing category in agriculture in Canada and has consistent sales growth across all product categories”. Tia Loftsgard, executive director, Canada Organic Trade Association, September 2017. In 2013, Canada represented the 5th largest global market for organic products. In 2016, the Canadian organic food and beverage market was estimated at $4.4 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2012. The compounded annual growth rate was estimated at 8.4%. Organic fruit and vegetables remain the most purchased item (76%, -1 point from 2016). This is well ahead of meat or poultry (28%, +4 points from 2016) or dairy products (27%, +1 point from 2016). 
Today, more Canadians are spending at least some of their weekly grocery budget on organic items. According to a study undertaken by the Canadian Organic Trade Association, today 66% of consumers purchase organic foods as part of their weekly grocery budget, up 10 points from 2016.
In 2016 a global survey was taken to understand why consumers purchase organic products. Health-related issues were the number 1 reason to purchase as outlined in Chart 2.
What is the Primary Reason You Would Buy Organic Products 
Traditional grocery is still the preferred retailer in Canada for the purchase of organic foods. Chart 3 outlines the top organic food channels.
Top Food Channels for the Purchase of Organic Foods
The Millennials are the driver of the organic market. They seek out organic because
- They are more aware of the benefits of organic,
- They place a greater value on knowing how their food is grown and produced, and
- They are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment. 
Chart 4 outlines Canada’s top weekly organic buyer.
Canada’s Top Weekly Organic Buyers, 2017 
The organic market is a sector food manufacturer cannot ignore. Their growth in popularity has been driven, to a large extent by the perceived perception they are more healthy and nutritious than conventional foods. Yet differences of opinion do exist and the debate will continue.
“Any consumers who buy organic food because they believe that it contains more healthful nutrients than conventional food are wasting their money”.
“Getting in the habit of choosing organic food whenever you can will ensure that you and your family get the nutritional benefits nature provides. It is a cornerstone on which to structure a lifestyle that will promote and maintain health lifelong”. 
Whether you are a Canadian food manufacturer who has being or is seeking to be organically certified, ensure your product packaging highlights the Canada Organic Logo. Research reveals 48% of Canadians rate their logo as trustworthy. For more information visit the Canada Organic Trade Association, www.ota.com.