Organic trends found in USDA reports

Reports on organic products from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service found a few lifestyle trends within the industry.

Besides the expected increased organic sales and the continued mainstreaming of the sector, studies revealed other shifts, according to the most recent issue of the ERS' Amber Waves magazine.

While convention says that Americans with higher incomes trend toward organic purchases, 2014 research showed that 42% of Americans with an annual household income under $30,000 made an effort to purchase organic food. Ages also skewed younger, with millennials representing more than half of consumers who actively try to purchase organic products.

Organic acreage has expanded in keeping with demand. Along with younger consumers, organic producers are also younger, according to Amber Waves. Organic growers are younger than their conventional counterparts, and tend to grow a larger variety of crops, usually to adhere to regulations and hedge against losses, according to the USDA. These younger growers also have more direct contact with consumers. According to the report, almost 8% of organic growers also served as handlers, which boosted sales.

A look at organic acreage over a 13-year period showed that it has been steadily outpacing organic pasture in growth, with the exception of 2004 and 2005.