Can Current Soil Testing Labs Meet Growth in the Organic Farming Industry?
The increasing demand for organic produce is driving the need for more organic produce testing by certified soil testing labs.
As Consumer Taste for Organic Produce Grows, the Agricultural Revolution Shifts to Meet New Demand
As the saying goes, "If You Ate Today, Thank a Farmer."
And indeed, we should. Since World War II, the Agricultural Revolution has spread around the world, allowing farmers to increase their production yields dramatically. Despite predictions to the contrary, modern agriculture is now able to feed a world with 7.6 billion hungry mouths.
But now, more and more consumers, particularly in western countries, are taking a closer look at the food we eat.
Overall, American consumers are increasingly concerned. They are worried about the obesity epidemic in children, and the potential impacts of pesticide residues in our food supply. As a result, an increasing number of shoppers are educating themselves about what they eat. From "Eat Local" and "Farm–to–Table"
Compared to American consumers, European consumers tend to be even more selective in their food consumption preferences. In fact, consumer protests by Europeans (who reject what are perceived of as "lax" American agricultural practices, such as using chlorine to process chicken (https://www.globalmeatnews.com/
We haven't seen the last of these controversies. Bayer's pending acquisition of Monsanto, makers of the pesticide glyphosate (marketed as Roundup®), has reignited the row in Europe over pesticide usage in the food chain (https://www.politico.eu/
While an Increasing Number of American Consumers Prefer Organic Produce, Availability and Price Barriers Remain
While organic produce sales are way up, there are some constraints on future sales growth that need to be addressed.
The first issue is cost. Organic produce commands a premium price (https://www.ers.usda.gov/
While a Journal of Consumer Affairs study (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
The second issue that is limiting the mainstream adoption of organic food products is the issue of "Food Deserts (https://www.ers.usda.gov/
The food desert issue has become so critical that the Salvation Army is opening its first grocery store (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/
As Distribution Channels Open Up, the Future of Organic Produce Farming Looks Bright
Market forces may be at work to solve the twin problems of high cost and limited availability.
"Buy Local" and "Farm-to-Table"
But as romantic as the notion of buying organic produce directly from the farmer may be, it's small potatoes (pardon the pun) when compared to the impact of Walmart's grocery sales, which are estimated to account for 33% of US grocery retailing (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/
In 2006, Walmart began to offer organic produce in its grocery aisles (https://barryyeoman.com/
But wait! As of last year, we now have a 1,000-pound gorilla in the grocery retail market. Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods (https://www.businesswire.com/
Walmart is looking over their shoulder at the Amazon / Whole Foods duo. Meanwhile, the notoriously low-margin grocery retail business continues to see more turmoil, such as the recent bankruptcy restructuring of Southeastern Grocers (https://www.segrocers.com/-/
The Shift to Organic Production Methods is Increasing Demand for Agricultural Soil Testing Labs
Despite the jockeying for position among top grocery retailers, the organic produce market seems poised for increased growth.
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