The healthy foods market in the United States kept pace with overall food industry growth in 2009, but this is far from good news. According to aResearch and Markets 2010 Healthy Foods Report printed in theNutrition Business Journal, the healthy foods market in the United States stayed on track with overall food industry growth in 2009, however annual growth rates for health foods is on the skids.

While the category slipped in the recent sluggish economic period, data suggests that it may have hit bottom and that growth rates should improve modestly in coming years. As growth takes hold, the study states that healthy foods should penetrate 23% of the overall foods market by 2017.

The report predicts that natural and organic foods will grow the fastest of any healthy foods categories in the next eight years with growth of organic reaching nearly 10% in 2012.

Lesser-evil foods will lose market share to the natural and organic categories in the future, the study projects, though functional foods should retain about a quarter of healthy food sales over the next eight years

Organic foods are expected to be the biggest competitor in healthy foods for the future, with a forecast compound growth rate of nearly 9%. Compound annual growth for the total healthy foods industry should hover above 5% for the next eight years.

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