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More U.S. families than ever before – 78 percent of those surveyed – say they are choosing organic foods, according to a study published by the Organic Trade Association.
“In a time when the severity of the economy means making tough choices, it is extremely encouraging to see consumers vote with their values by including quality organic products in their shopping carts,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s executive director and CEO.
The finding is one of many contained in OTA’s newly released 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study. “It’s clear that with more than three-quarters of U.S. families choosing organic, this has moved way beyond a niche market,” Bushway said.
According to the study, four in 10 families indicate they are buying more organic products than they were a year ago. The findings are in line with those in OTA’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey, which revealed that the U.S. organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8 percent in 2010. Fueled by consumer choice and demand, the organic sector is one of the few components of the U.S. economy that continues to add jobs.
Nearly half – 48 percent – of parents surveyed revealed that their strongest motivator for buying organic is their belief that organic products “are healthier for me and my children.” Other motivators for purchasing organic included concern over the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on children, and the desire to avoid highly processed or artificial ingredients.
Nearly a decade after the federal rules for organic were implemented, 72 percent of parents are now familiar with the USDA Organic seal, up from 65 percent in 2009. However, the study also found that three in 10 U.S. families are new entrants to the organic marketplace. This figure is consistent with prior years’ findings, and indicates a need for continued outreach and education on the verified benefits offered by organic agriculture and products.
For the study, OTA, in partnership with Kiwi Magazine, polled nearly 1,300 U.S. families about their attitudes and behaviors relating to organic foods. The total sample reflects the target population of U.S. households at a confidence interval of +/-3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. This is the third year the study has been conducted.
The study contains in-depth information about organic consumers’ demographics, purchase motivation, understanding of organic, willingness to substitute when organic is not available, and attitudes about genetically modified organisms. Also contained in the study is strategic information about organic influencers’ communication patterns, online behaviors and much more.
The 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study is available for purchase by visiting OTA’s website.
The Organic Trade Association is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, representing more than 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states.