Implications for Food and Ingredient Markets and Trade

This project seeks to determine some of the implications that have arisen given the continual growth of the organic market over the past decade. Questions of sustainability arise particularly when considering; 1) the volume, value and diversity of organic international trade, 2) the role of certifying agents, 3) the supply of organic ingredients, and 4) consumer substitution between organic and natural/GM-free food. To address these questions this project will undertake the following:
  • Analysis of organic trade-flows through the examination of international trade imports and exports to and from the United States and Canada
  • Investigating the growing role and power of certifying agents though interviews of key-stakeholders along with a survey of all domestic and international certifying agencies
  • Tracking the supply of organic ingredients key in the production of certain foods by monitoring food innovations through the use of commercial databases
  • Assessing consumer knowledge of labeling schemes through the use of focus groups and a nationally distributed online survey

This project is funded primarily by the United States Department of Agriculture and is continually supported by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University and the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.

We will make available on this page all related projects and papers that emanate from this study. Please feel free to contact the primary investigators if you have any questions relating to their work.


Dr. Kathryn Boys

Dr. Kathryn Boys is an Assistant Professor at the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.
Phone: 919-515-2490

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Dr. Neal Hooker

Dr. Neal Hooker is Professor of Food Policy in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
Phone: 614-292-8188

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It’s OK – It’s Organic! Hedonic Analysis Of Snack Bars

Xiaojin Wang, Kathryn Boys, and Neal H. Hooker

Snacking has increased steadily over time, and currently accounts for roughly a quarter of daily calories for children and adults. Within this, more and more consumers are choosing organic snacks; 27 percent of consumers eat more organic and organiclabeled snacks than a year ago.

This growing demand has led to increased sales and new product introductions in this category. In 2015 alone, snack bar sales in the U.S. topped $6.8 billion. This sector is among the fastest-growing within the organic food market and currently has an annual growth rate of 14 percent which is second only to the meat/fish/poultry category. Moreover, the category of organic snack foods has been a leader in new product introductions among all food and beverage products. In 2015, 509 new snacks containing organic ingredients were launched in the U.S. market, representing about 21 percent of snack food introductions and 3 percent of all new food and beverage product introductions.

Given its economic importance, level of consumption, and extent of innovation, the snack food category offers a particularly useful setting in which to examine the relative value consumers place on a product’s organic content relative to other product attributes. The objective of this study is to identify and examine the price premiums applied to snacks with different levels of organic content to understand the value consumers place on these and other product attributes.

Export Opportunities And Import Competition: Improving The Understanding Of International Markets For U.S. Organic Farm And Processed Products

Kathryn A. Boys and Neal H. Hooker

The market for organic products is both large and expanding. In 2012 U.S. organic product sales exceeded $31.4 billion reflecting a 10.2% annual increase (OTA, 2013). In examining trends over the past five years, growth in organic food sales has significantly outpaced those of comparable conventional food products (OTA, 2013). As domestic organic policy and international trading relationships continue to evolve, markets are becoming more accessible to U.S. organic farmers and processors. At the same time, due to ongoing efforts to establish organic equivalency agreements with trading partners, foreign firms are increasingly able to access the U.S. market. As a result, both the variety and quantity of organic food and ingredients available to U.S. processors and consumers is expanding. The types and volumes of internationally traded organic products, therefore, have clear and important quantity, price and other market implications for U.S. organic farmers, ingredient manufacturers, and food processors.

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