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Reports Show Continued Growth in Organic Food Industry

May 17, 2007 -- For Immediate Release

Two new reports show continued growth in the organic food industry. The Nielsen Company reported Monday that sales of organic products in grocery stores grew 28 percent over the past year. The five-year agriculture census released today by Statistics Canada also showed significant growth in the number of certified organic farms since 2001 (3,555 vs. 2,230 in 2001), while the total number of farms declined by 7 percent. Certified organic farms now represent 1.5 percent of the total number of farms in Canada, with a further 0.3 percent of farms in transition. The census also tracks the number of farmers using organic methods that are not certified by a third party. In 2006, 11,937 farms reported using organic methods, representing 5.2 percent of all farms.

According to Nielson, the top selling organic food categories in Canadian grocery stores were fresh vegetables (25%), beverages (excluding milk) (18%), fresh fruits (13%) and dairy (11%), while the Statistics Canada report reveals that field crops (grains, cereals and oilseeds) are the most common organic product grown in Canada.

"Other than dairy, the majority of the organic foods that Canadians are buying are imported, while the organic field crops produced by Canadian organic farmers are exported. This doesn't make sense", said Laura Telford, Executive Director of Canadian Organic Growers. "We need to shift some of our organic production to meet the needs of Canadians. This makes sense from an environmental and food security perspective."

A comparison of the Statistics Canada five year organic production data to the annual statistics collected by Canadian Organic Growers, revealed that the greatest annual growth in organic production between 2005 and 2006 occurred in Ontario (19%) and in Atlantic Canada (16%).

"Slight annual declines in other regions of the country may be related to the different methods of data collection used by the two organizations" said Anne Macey, author of COG's 2005 organic production report.

The Nielsen Company also reported regional differences in growth of organic sales with Alberta experiencing the largest growth and Quebec the least.

"Taken together, these reports reveal an industry experiencing strong growth, though consumption continues to outpace production", said Laura Telford Executive Director of Canadian Organic Growers (COG). "With a new federal organic regulation coming on line, we expect this growth to continue for some time."

For more information:

The 2006 Statistics Canada report is available at:
www.www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/95-629-XIE/1/1.15.htm#35>

The Canadian Organic Growers 2005 Organic Production Report is available at:
www.cog.ca/OrganicStatistics.htm

Or contact: Laura Telford Executive Director Canadian Organic Growers
(613) 216-0742
1 888 275-7383

Anne Macey Canadian Organic Growers
(250) 537-5511

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