April 18, 2008 —
The New York Times reports today that despite the relatively relaxed pace at which the price of organic food has risen in comparison to other produce and processed food in the past few months, organics are about to see dramatic price increases across the board. With the cost of organic feeds for meat and dairy, and the decreased incentive for farmers to go organic due to higher prices for non-organic foods, there's a good chance that the cost of many of your favorite organics will go up by as much as 20 percent in the very near future.
The most drastic price increases will probably come in meat and dairy, with many farmers reporting that their feed costs have doubled in the last year. Unless retailers beginning upping prices soon, a host of farmers are likely to defect back to conventional farming methods. It's unclear how such price increases would effect the organics market share, but since many organic shoppers are unlikely to be as effected by the recent economic downturn as most Americans, there's a chance that sales could remain relatively stable at Whole Foods, Wild Oats and farmers' markets. Wal-Mart's recent forays into organic food might not be so lucky.