Natural and Organic Food Consumers staying loyal to the category despite recession

by staff writer

A recent survey from market research firm Mintel shows that nearly
40% of consumers claim they haven’t changed organic product purchasing
habits because of the recession and only a mere 3% have stopped buying
organic products altogether.

“Heavy users of natural and organic food and drink are most likely
to indicate they’ve traded down to less expensive organic options,”
notes David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. “However, less-frequent
consumers of organic products have shown that they haven’t shifted
their behavior. This is good news for the organic food and drink
market, as this group may begin to buy more once recession-related
fears begin to fade.”

With a slight decline in supermarket sales in 2009 (-0.3%), Mintel
and natural products industry expert SPINS expect the organic food and
drink market to recover gradually during 2010-12, but not at
pre-recession growth rates. Consumers have made shifts in their
purchase behavior that are likely to carry on through this time period.

“The natural and organic food industry has an opportunity to instill
trust and educate consumers as we work our way out of this recession,”
comments David Browne.

Currently, only one-third (33%) of survey respondents trust the term
“natural” on labels and nearly half (45%) trust the term “organic.”
However, roughly 30% of respondents say they don’t know if they can
trust either term.