Where food comes from has become an increasingly heated and controversial topic for many American consumers. The production of organic food tends to be associated with local farms and consumer-friendly companies such as Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM), while their engineered counterparts show up on the other end of the public relations spectrum, associated with the likes of Monsanto (NYSE:MON). You are free to purchase foods from organic or genetically modified sources for your household if you prefer, but there is no debating that both industries, organic food and biotech crops, have represented ultra-growth opportunities for investors.
Given the intense rhetoric pitting the two against each other, it may be easy to overlook the growth potential that each offers. But which industry presents the better investing opportunity? On one hand, organic foods sales are being spurred by consumer demand and large business investments, such as the $600 million acquisition of Earthbound Farm by WhiteWave Foods (NYSE:WWAV). On the other, developing countries collectively represent an amazing market opportunity for producers of biotech seeds and crops. In fact, developing countries now grow more acreage of biotech crops than industrialized nations.
So, if you take an open-minded approach to both industries, what would the hard numbers from your research tell you about the investment opportunities? Let's discover where growth has originated from in the past, where both types of foods stand in the market in the present, and see what future growth depends on.
Our top stock for the year
There's a huge difference between a good stock, and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.
John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors.
The Motley Fool recommends Whole Foods Market and owns shares of WhiteWave Foods and Whole Foods Market. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.