Despite recent breakthroughs in genetically engineered foods that promise to provide more durable and insect-resistant produce, studies show that more consumers seem to buying foods from the opposite spectrum.
Organic foods seem to be growing in popularity. Nearly half of American consumers say they buy organic products, according to national surveys. Studies show that the market for organic products has grown by at least 20 percent a year for the past decade.
The government recently passed new national standards for the production, handling, and processing of organically grown agricultural products.
Part of the new standards includes adding new organic labeling on grocery store products beginning at the end of this summer.
Organic describes the system of agriculture that protects soil and water resources. Organic food is minimally processed without artificial ingredients or preservatives. Genetic modification is not allowed.
While the most frequently purchased organic products are vegetables, fruits, cereals and grains, other products now include baby food, dairy products, meat and poultry, frozen foods, chocolate, organic cotton, personal care items, health and beauty products containing organic ingredients and fiber products such as bedding, clothing and toys.
Even with organic products on the rise, consumers may still have difficulties locating them. A new Web site called the Organic Pages at www.ota.com provides a directory of organic products and resources.
The site, offered by members of the Organic Trade Association, allows consumers to search products by company, name, brand name, business type, supply chain, geographic location and products or services.