You can call it a trend.  You can question the health benefits of spending extra for it.  ...But you can't deny the dollar and cents of organic foods when compared to "regular" offerings.

The organic food industry grew at an 8% rate in 2010, the Brattleboro, Vt.-based Organic Trade Association reports in its 2011 Organic Industry Survey. That was much better than overall U.S. food sales growth of less than 1%, according to a news release.

The organic food industry grew to over $28.6 billion in 2010, and the survey found non-food organic sales topped $2 billion.

Organic fruits and vegetables enjoyed an 11.8% dollar gain in 2010, said Barbara Haumann, spokeswoman for the association.

Total value of organic fruits and vegetable sold in 2010 was estimated at $10.6 billion, compared with $9.5 billion in 2009, according to the survey.

That increase in organic purchases is leading to an increase in jobs.

78% of organic farms plan to maintain or increase organic production levels in the next five years.

The experts say that this increase for organics might also be related to an increase in availability.  Within the last few years, there has been an large increase in the amount of shelf space traditional grocery stores have offered to organic foods.

Organic outperforms ‘flat’ food market | The Packer.