Chapter 1: Introduction
In 2012, the global market for organic products was worth over $63.8 billion (USD), quadrupling its value from 1999 ($15.2 billion) (Willer and Lernoud, 2014:23). The United States (US) and to a lesser extent Canada have been the fastest growing markets for organic foods in the world. Between 2005 and 2010, the size of the market for organic products in both Canada and the US more than doubled (Haumann, 2014:242). In 2012, sales of organic food in the US were worth over $27 billion (USD) with over 40 million people purchasing some type of organic food in that year. According to a study quoted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), this figure has more than doubled from less than a decade ago (Osteen et al., 2012). To the north, Canada’s comparatively smaller market topped $3.5 billion (CAD) in sales in 2012 (Holmes and Macey, 2014:249). Organic food can be found everywhere from the local farmer’s market to the aisles of Walmart across Canada and the US as consumer demand continues to rise. In the minds of some, the word organic conjures up images of clean, green and healthy food and is considered superior to conventional fare. Despite the 2008 global recession’s reverberating effects on rates of unemployment and on food and fuel prices, organic food sales continue to grow as concerns over environmental toxins in the food system, ‘frankenfoods’ and worries about obesity, health and nutrition increase among the general population (Lernoud et al., 2014:251).