WASHINGTON   — A Nielsen survey revealed organic items were found on the shelves of kitchen cupboards and in the refrigerators of 82.3% of American households in 2016, the Washington-based Organic Trade Association said March 23. The national average climbed 3.4% from 2015 to 2016.

North Dakota had the highest jump, increasing 14.2% from 2015 to 2016 to reach 85.6% of households. Following North Dakota in the ranking of biggest increases were Rhode Island, up 12.3% to 88.3%; Wyoming, up 10.8% to 90%; South Dakota, up 10% to 68.9%; and Wisconsin, up 9.1% to 77.6%.

The nationally representative Nielsen study involved 100,000 households in 48 states and did not include Alaska or Hawaii.

Laura Batcha, Organic Trade Association, OTA
Laura Batcha, c.e.o. and executive director of the Organic Trade Association

“These new findings show how important organic has become to millions and millions of American families everywhere — to more than 80% of our nation’s 117 million households, more than 80% of Georgia’s 3.5 million households, more than 85% of North Dakota’s almost 300,000 households,” said Laura Batcha, chief executive officer and executive director of the Organic Trade Association. “The organic community is looking forward to working with the new leadership at U.S.D.A. We are eager to show how important adequate funding is to support a strong organic program and to help organic to continue to become a part of healthy diets of households throughout our nation, including Mr. Perdue’s home state and rural states from coast to coast.”

George E. (Sonny) Perdue, a former governor of Georgia, has been nominated to be the next secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The number of households in Georgia buying organic climbed 4% from 2015 to 2016, reaching 81.5%, according to the Nielsen survey.

Gov. Sonny Perdue
George E. (Sonny) Perdue has been nominated to be the next secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The industry relies on a few critical public institutions to support this burgeoning industry, including the (U.S.D.A.’s) National Organic Program for global oversight and uniform standards and research investment targeted to organic production,” Ms. Batcha said. “Organic is fueled by consumers, and it thrives when U.S.D.A. recognizes the importance of organic to rural economies and to rural households.”

Total organic food sales in 2015 were $39.7 billion, up 11% from 2014, according to the O.T.A.’s 2016 U.S. Organic Industry Survey. This spring the O.T.A. will release is 2017 survey, which will examine the U.S. organic market in 2016.