Organic food careers at major retailers are booming, with more than 3,000 openings and more than $1.2 billion in spending this year, according to the Organic Retail Association.
The jobs at major brands are mostly in retail, with many also in health care, food services, and other non-retail sectors.
But organic food careers are also popping up at some smaller retailers and on organic products at online stores, where organic is the fastest-growing segment of sales, according the association.
In addition to the jobs at supermarkets and restaurants, many small businesses are hiring organic food professionals, said Jeff Schonberg, director of organic business development for the group.
“The fact that we’re seeing the growth in the organic food industry is a reflection of the fact that it is the most accessible market for organic food,” he said.
“This is an industry that is not very well known,” he added.
“We’re seeing more and more people working in the industry.
There are plenty of companies out there.”
The organic food jobs trend began in 2008, when a new organic grocery store opened in New York City.
By 2009, organic grocery stores in Los Angeles, Miami, and Miami-Dade County had opened, with a dozen or so in San Francisco and a dozen more in the Bay Area.
The organic grocery industry has also seen growth in New England, where the industry grew at a rate of 2.6 percent in 2009, according, the association’s annual report.
The industry now accounts for more than 10 percent of the overall retail food sector, which is worth $20.4 billion.
The boom has been driven in part by demand for organic products, which have become a staple of the diet.
A 2013 survey by the Association of Grocery Manufacturers showed that 85 percent of grocery store customers say they use organic products when shopping, and 83 percent said they buy organic products in addition to grocery and other food products.
Schonberg said the organic job market has become a competitive one, and that organic jobs are plentiful.
While the food industry continues to be dominated by big brands, Schonburg said the opportunity for smaller brands is also growing, especially in the health care sector.
The growth in organic health care jobs is driven by demand from the consumer, he said, as more consumers are starting to realize that organic food is a healthy choice for their diet.
There are more than 700 food service jobs at the top 50 food service companies in the U.S., according to job listing site Glassdoor.
There were about 4,000 positions at the food service industry in 2010, up from 3,200 jobs in 2000, according Glassdoor data.
In 2013, there were 1,890 jobs at food service, up nearly 8 percent from 1,500 jobs in 2001, Glassdoor found.
This is a growing market that is getting ready to go mainstream, said Steve McKeon, executive director of the association, adding that organic job openings at major stores have been growing at about 7 percent annually since 2008.
McKeon said there are about 40 organic food job openings across the U, including in retail and other retail and service positions.
At the other end of the scale, organic career opportunities at the small grocery store sector are dwindling.
In addition to small grocery stores, many are downsizing their grocery business to save money and be more profitable, and are now looking for organic job opportunities, Schanberg said.
For example, Trader Joe’s is downsizing its grocery business, which was estimated to be worth $200 million in 2012, because of the growing demand for food products that are not organic, said Sarah Rittenhouse, a spokesperson for the company.
Some smaller grocery stores have also started to expand their organic job offerings.
McKeons group said that while the organic career trend is in its early stages, there are many opportunities in the marketplace for people interested in working at organic jobs.
The Organic Retailers Association reported in its report that nearly 1,000 organic jobs were created in the last year alone, up almost 50 percent from the year before.
Read more: “Organic” job postings at major retail outlets are at record highs, but job seekers need to be patient and look at the job postings The jobs that are available in the food services industry are mostly for workers who are experienced in food service operations, said Amy Miller, a certified career counselor with the Association for Independent Living.
Miller said she advises people who are interested in a career in food services to look for a position in the consumer product industry.
She said the industry is growing fast, but people who want to work in the restaurant industry, for example, need to understand that the restaurant and retail industry is still young, and hiring a new person is still a challenging process.
It’s important to note that