Organic Grocery Trends in BC

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Over the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that I posted a couple of graphics on Facebook showing some of the results from a report by the Canada Organic Trade Association. Since the report highlights that organic buying is clearly a major trend in BC, I wanted to share some more detailed information about the results of the report.

Here are some of the most interesting findings.

Top Findings from the BC Organic Market Report

1. The Total Canadian Organic Market is worth $3.7 Billion Each Year

That’s a big number! And almost all of that (96%) is spent on food and drinks. About half of those purchases (45%) are made at mainstream retail stores and about a third (29%) at natural health stores and online.

2. BC Residents Buy More Organic Food than Other Canadians

BC has 13% of the country’s population, but we buy 22% of the organic food and drinks. In fact, 66% of us buy organic groceries every week, compared to the national average of 58%.

3. Farmer-Direct Sales in BC Quadrupled From 2006 to 2012

That means there is five times as much food being sold directly from farmers to BC consumers as there was just seven years ago. Many of these purchases are made at farmers’ markets. Over half of the sales at Vancouver farmers’ markets are made by certified organic vendors, with a total of $3.52 million in organic fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy sold in 2012.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is also catching on, with $800,000 of organic food sold through CSAs in BC in 2012. There are about 40 CSAs across the province.

4. All Age Groups are Buying Organic in BC

Nationally, people aged 35 to 44 buy the most organic groceries, and organic sales really drop off for people over age 65. In BC, though, the baby boomers are the biggest buyers of organics, with 78% of 55 to 64 year olds making organic purchases. The number is over 60% for all age groups between 25 and 64, and in BC, just over half of seniors also buy organic.

Tell Us: Do you buy organic groceries? Why or why not? Why do you think people in BC buy more organic groceries than people in other parts of Canada?


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