A new report has found that more Canadian shoppers purchased organic items weekly (66 per cent) in 2017, up 10 percent from 2016, with Millennials (83 percent), University Graduates (78 percent), Albertans (74 percent), Families (72 percent) and Men (67 percent) the top weekly organic buying groups of 2017, according to the latest Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) comprehensive analysis of Canada’s organic market: The Canadian Organic Market: Trends and Opportunities 2017.

The in-depth publication provides the most up-to-date overview of the Canadian organic market, combining consumer research with sales and trade data to provide valuable insight into market size, growth trends and Canadian consumer perceptions, COTA said.

“Canada’s organic sector remains on its upward trajectory, gaining new market share as consumers across Canada ate and used more organic products than ever before,” said Tia Loftsgard, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association.

“It is an exciting time to be a part of a sector that shows such promise to bring positive economic, social and environmental change to Canada.”

Key findings of the second study of the Canadian organic market by COTA include that Canada’s total organic market (including food and non-food items) is estimated at CAD5.4 billion, up from CAD3.5 billion in 2012, a 55 percent market growth in five years. The organic food and beverage market is estimated at $4.4 billion, up from $2.8 billion in 2012.

The compound annual growth rate of the total organic market is estimated at 8.7 percent between 2012 and 2017. Over the same time period, the growth rate for the organic food and beverage market is at an estimated 8.4 percent.

As the market has matured, growth rates have slowed but organics continues to capture a greater market share. Between 2012 and 2017, the market share of organic food and beverages sold through mainstream retailers has grown from 1.7 percent to 2.6 percent.

Ontario has the largest organic market, yet British Columbia continues to have higher organic sales per capita, the report found.

Two-thirds of Canadian grocery shoppers are purchasing organics weekly, while Albertan’s are most likely to be organic purchasers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of the organic food and beverage market with over half a million sales through mainstream retailers for the year ending August 2017.

Mainstream retailers have seen higher growth rates than other retail channels, and according to the report:

* 80 percent of organic shoppers make organic purchases at regular grocery stores;

* 23 percent of organic shoppers make organic purchases through farmer-direct channels such as farmer's markets;

* 39 percent of purchases are made at mass retailers;

* 24 percent of purchases are made at natural health stores;

* 10 percent are made at pharmacy/drug stores; and 4 per cent at online retailers.

Currently Canada tracks 65 organic imports and 17 organic exports – a subset of total organic trade. Tracked Canadian organic imports were valued at $637 million in 2016, while Tracked exports are expected to reach $607 million by the end of 2017.

The Organic Market Report also found that 41 percent of Canadians are very or somewhat familiar with the Canadian Organic logo, up 12 percent on 2016, while 48 percent of Canadians rate the Canada Organic logo as trustworthy.