Natural Foods Merchandiser

U.S. organic cotton market grows 55 percent

Worldwide retail sales of organic cotton clothing and home textiles increased from $245 million in 2001 to $583 million in 2005, reported Organic Exchange, a nonprofit trade association based in Oakland, Calif. The "Spring 2006 Organic Cotton Fiber Report" also found that U.S. organic cotton sales grew 55 percent annually over the same four-year period to $275 million.

More than 1,200 manufacturers and retailers now offer organic cotton products. In 2001, only a few hundred companies and stores sold these products, according to the report. The three U.S. companies that use the most organic cotton are Nike, Patagonia and Sam's Club/Wal-Mart.

"Consumers are no longer simply eating organically grown food—they are wearing clothes, using personal care products and outfitting their kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms with products made with organic cotton," said OE President Rebecca Calahan.

The Organic Exchange projected 116 percent average annual growth in worldwide organic cotton product sales by 2009, with sales reaching $2.6 billion. OE also predicted that by 2008 organic fiber demand may exceed supply if production is not expanded in the next two years.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 6/p. 12

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