Trends in Consumer Use of Organics


Wellness Interactive

The rise in popularity of organic foods in mainstream America is not a passing fad nor is it exclusively in response to concerns about the environment. Rather, people have turned to organic foods as a way of taking care of their health and well-being. That said, the world of organics is ever changing. Here is a brief look at some of the trends that are showing up in the organic marketplace.

  • Organic vs. Natural

More and more people are beginning to differentiate between natural and organic products. In some categories, consumers look for products made without the use of growth hormones and antibiotics rather than a natural or organic label. But as more people see greater numbers of products labeled “natural,” they are beginning to see it as meaningless, seeking instead products with an organic label.

  • Friends and Family–

One of the strongest influences on continued organic purchases is the influence of recommendations among friends. According to studies done by the Hartman Group, around 25% of people say they originally tried organics because someone recommended it to them. This number will only rise as people continue to tell each other about organics.

  • Organic and Dining Out

Restaurants will continue to expand their organic menu offerings as greater numbers of consumers desire to have organics as an option when dining out.

  • Organic at Retail

Looking for a one-stop shop? Well, then you are in the minority. The outlets in which consumers purchase organic foods are no longer limited to the specialty stores. Even though people are not expecting Safeway to be an environment in which to discover new organic products, they increasingly purchase organic foods there for mostly functional needs. On the other hand, a store like Wild Oats provides the aura of a treasure hunt, and people are more likely to shop there for produce, meat, or bakery items.

  • Enter Into Organics-

People generally follow the same pathway to becoming organics users. There are certain “gateway products” that people typically try first before moving on deeper into the world of organics. We have recently seen a few changes in this adoption pathway. Most significantly, meat and poultry have moved from a second-level category purchase to one of the first organic products new organics users purchase. With concerns rising over BSE (mad cow disease) and bird flu, people are seeking the safest meat choices for their families, and organic meat provides that security. Another change in purchasing is in hot tea and bulk goods. The wellness aura surrounding tea and the rapidly increasing use of beverages in general means that a growing number of consumers are trying the organic version sooner than before. Bulk goods have become more popular because of the convenience and lower prices of items in this category.

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