The organic movement began at the same time as industrialized agriculture. It evolved through the ’50s and ’60s with the launch of such books as ” Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson, which exposed the toxic effects of pesticides through what is now termed bio-magnification; a process whereby synthetic chemicals used in agriculture magnify (increase in concentration) through the food-chain. During the ’70s, the development of the organic market was stimulated by growing consumer interest in health and nutrition, as well as the increasing importance of preserving the natural environment.
Currently worldwide organic sales exceed US$100 billion per year and ONEgroup plans to capture a significant share of this booming organic market over the coming years.
More recently, the movement has been given significant impetus by events such as outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalapathy (BSE or Mad Cow Disease) and the controversy surrounding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), which have motivated people to search for healthy alternatives.
What is Organic?
Certified Organic products are grown and processed without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or GMO’s (see definition below). It is an innovative method of farming and production and is increasingly being recognized as being on the leading edge of food and fibre technology into the future.
Organics is not just chemical free by testing. It is about the way the product ingredients have been grown, prepared, processed and packaged. The whole system is linked; soil, plants, people and the environment. Standards to achieve certification are internationally recognized and are assured through annual audits of all certified operators by an independent third party auditor.
What is a GMO?
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant, animal or microorganism whose genetic code has been altered (subtracted from, or added to either the same species or a different species) in order to give it characteristics that it does not have naturally.
Scientists can now transfer genes between species that otherwise would be incapable of mating, for example, a goat and a spider. This is what we call transgenesis. Little is known about the long-term effects of such manipulations on humans, plants, animals and/or the environment. And while some see GMO’s as the way to the future, others believe that scientists have gone too far, tinkering with the essence of life.
Booming, Ethical Industry
The organic industry has achieved compounded growth of 23% p.a. for seven consecutive years, while the natural and organic cosmetic sector grew by a massive 39% in 2001 alone. ONEgroup leads the world in skin care by successfully developing the Miessence range – the world’s first certified organic skin and body care products to the highest international food standards.
Recent market research has shown that consumer demand for organics is growing rapidly worldwide. ONEgroup, through its cutting-edge research and development, intends to progressively release dynamic, healthy, first-to-market innovations in the organic sector. Globally, sales in the personal care market, including natural personal care, reached USD$122 billion in 2000 and are growing at 1.6% per annum. In the USA, the entire Health and Beauty Care market is almost USD$40 billion and is expecting 3.4% annual growth.
USA – Organic non-food sales in the USA reached $1.6 billion in 2008 with a growth rate of 39.4%. The United States Department of Agriculture expects that the organic industry will be worth US$100 billion by 2010 in just three markets, the USA, Europe and Japan.In contrast, the trend towards natural ingredients is running through every segment of personal care, with sales in the USA in this area reaching USD$1.56 billion in 2001 and growing at 10%. This segment is expected to grow 6%-7% annually over the next few years.
UK – A consumer survey conducted in 2005 shows 65% of shoppers knowingly buy organic, up from 50% in 2003. During 2004, the organic market experienced 11% growth increasing to 30% growth in 2005. The UK will continue to be a key market with organic sales now well exceeding GBP 1 billion.
Japan – The Japanese are the largest per capita consumers of organics in the world and are substantial importers of organic consumer products. Japan had a national market value of US$1.5 billion in 1998 and has a current estimated value of US$3.2 billion. The majority of organic products in Japan are distributed through a ‘tei-kei’ arrangement, which is a type of cooperative.
Clearly, organics is a trend that is becoming more mainstream each year as people become better educated about the benefits of organics, and less tolerant of products containing synthetic chemicals. Research indicates that people of all ages are rapidly becoming more aware of their health, the quality of the products they use, and concerns about the ecological condition and future of our planet. Many millions of people worldwide are now putting their money where their hearts are and choosing to uphold these sustainable values.