Breaking Down the Organic Shopper

Nearly 70 percent of consumers purchase some sort of organic product today. "Going organic" is a trend that has been moving steadily upward for the past nine years, but did you know that 38 percent of all organic shoppers are new consumers in the industry?

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Nearly 7 in 10, or 70 percent, of consumers purchase some sort of organic product today. "Going organic" is a trend that has been moving steadily upward for the past 9 years.

But did you know that 38 percent of all organic shoppers are new consumers in the industry? In the latest report by Natural Marketing Institute, researchers found that more than a third of organic shoppers are new within the past year, meaning they have only recently  begun focusing on purchases of organic food and beverage products.

The market research highlights organic shoppers by differing levels of usage and commitment. For instance, Millennials are said to be growing more than any other generational group as organic consumers. So what does this mean for producers of organic products? Well, for one, companies should be targeting their marketing efforts and education to take advantage of Millennials' growing interest of this industry.

But according to NMI, one of the biggest confusions for shoppers is identifying the differences between natural and organic products. Out of the more than 7,000 consumers surveyed, nearly half believed that the term "natural" means no pesticides have been used in the growth of that food item — which is neither true nor regulated. 

"Certified Organic" is the only term that can make such a claim, as no synthetic or toxic pesticides are used in organically grown crops.

Here are some other key highlights taken from the report:

  • In the U.S., organic product sales reached over $35B in 2013. Organic foods and beverages represent 92 percent of those sales.
  • Organic food accounts for approximately 5 percent of all U.S. food sales.
  • While the recession had an impact on organic food and beverage use, it has since rebounded after a post-recession flattening and all indications point to more growth in the future.
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