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.
John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors.
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