As consumers become increasingly interested in the safety and quality of the food that they put in their bodies, organic food has enjoyed strong growth. Sales rose from $11 billion in 2004 to $27 billion in 2012, according to the USDA.
But what does "organic" really mean, and does the label meet consumers' expectations? Do shoppers know that the Horizon Organics brand -- darling of the urban food co-op -- belongs to decidedly conventional Dean Foods (NYSE: DF ) ? Or that Hain Celestial (NASDAQ: HAIN ) has been dogged recently by accusations of false organic labeling, leading to a class action lawsuit?
Motley Fool contributor Sara Murphy discusses the tensions at play in consumer food preferences, as well as why Monsanto (NYSE: MON ) may not be a good long-term bet. It may lead you to cast a longing eye at Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM ) , a company that -- while not perfect -- is much closer to meeting the spirit of consumers' food preferences.
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