April 11/Ottawa/CNW -- Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012, with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion. The value of the Canadian organic food market has tripled since 2006, far outpacing the growth rate of other agri-food sectors. A diverse consumer base is driving the sector, with 58% of all Canadians buying organic products every week.

"At the industry's urging, the government implemented strict national standards and label requirements in 2009 to uphold consumer confidence in organic claims" said Matthew Holmes, executive director of the Canada Organic Trade Association, "so it's tremendously gratifying to see this result in such strong market growth and continued consumer commitment to organic."

In British Columbia, the focus of the first phase of research, two-thirds of consumers -- and over three-quarters of Vancouverites -- are buying organic groceries weekly. British Columbia generated 23% of the value of the national organic food and beverage market, with strong sales across distribution channels.

"We are pleased to see growing consumer demand and impressive sales growth from mainstream retail to direct-to-consumer channels," stated Rebecca Kneen, co-president of the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia.