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An increasing number of U.S. consumers are choosing natural and/or organic foods, according to Whole Foods Market’s fifth annual “Food Shopping Trend Tracker Survey.”
The research revealed that nearly three out of four Americans (73 percent) don’t want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy regardless of current food prices. Seventy-one percent prefer natural and organic over conventional foods if the prices are comparable, with 27 percent of shoppers devoting more than a quarter of their grocery dollars to these types of products, up 35 percent from four years ago.
"We see that Americans from all demographics are seeking more natural and organic foods; especially if the price is right," said A.C. Gallo, president and COO of Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market. "We don't believe shoppers should have to sacrifice quality for price, so we aim to offer high quality food that fits every budget through competitive pricing and expanding our 365 Everyday Value line."
Further, the survey disclosed that many Americans are willing to pay more for foods that meet certain criteria:
- Nearly half (47 percent) are willing to pay higher prices for locally produced foods
- Nearly one-third (32 percent) are willing to pay more for foods with no artificial ingredients, preservatives or colorings
- Nearly one out of three (30 percent) are willing to pay more for meats raised with no antibiotics or added growth hormones
- One in four (24 percent) are willing to pay more for meats raised under humane animal husbandry standards
Aside from price, a majority of Americans say the overall quality (88 percent) and selection (85 percent) of products, regular sales and promotions (76 percent), and trust in the grocery retailers (76 percent) are very or fairly important when grocery shopping.
While the majority of consumers (64 percent) consider themselves "value seekers," here's a breakdown of how Americans describe their grocery shopping style:
- Value Seekers (64 percent) – someone very aware of prices, bargains, coupons and specials
- One-Stop (41 percent) – shoppers who want all their needs met by one store, from staple pantry items and meats to family-friendly offerings and body care
- Health-Minded (32 percent) – someone who seeks out healthy foods and educational resources
- Conscious Shoppers (17 percent) – someone who seeks out organic, sustainable, Fair Trade, local foods and growers
- On-the-Go (14 percent) – someone who shops at the closest store and seeks out convenience and prepared foods
- Adventurous Eater (13 percent) – the foodie looking for specialty products
The “Food Shopping Trend Tracker” survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Whole Foods Market between Aug. 3 and Aug. 7, among 2,274 adult consumers.