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    Editor’s Note: Healthy Focus on Trend for 2010

    A recent study by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, MamboTrak, which surveyed the organic buying and wellness habits of 1,000 natural product consumers to get an outlook for the coming year, revealed great news for the grocery industry.

    By Michelle Moran

    A recent study by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, MamboTrak, which surveyed the organic buying and wellness habits of 1,000 natural product consumers to get an outlook for the coming year, revealed great news for the grocery industry.

    Nine in 10 (88 percent) consumers took additional steps recently to promote their family’s health and wellness. With the economic recovery in slow mode, consumers are going “back to basics” to bolster their health, with seven in 10 or more taking vitamins (84 percent), eating the recommended fruits and veggies (73 percent), and choosing organic foods (68 percent).

    These same consumers plan to increase their commitment to health and wellness behaviors, including fitness and exercise (64 percent), getting enough sleep (63 percent), and eating fruits and veggies (61 percent). More than one in two reported adding more “raw” and “whole” foods into their diet (57 percent), eating organic foods (53 percent), and meditation and relaxation (52 percent) would be more important in 2010.

    Three in four or more consumers were active in online health and wellness activities using printable online coupons and savings offers (80 percent) and seeking out health/wellness information online (76 percent). More than one in two subscribe to health/wellness e-newsletters (59 percent) and belong to social network sites (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Care2) (56 percent). Consumers identified more health/wellness product coupons (93 percent) and a wider selection of health/wellness products (62 percent) as the retailer and natural product company strategies they would find most helpful.

    Most (59 percent) expect to buy more organics in the coming year, albeit cost-conscious consumers are seeking ways to make organics more affordable by shopping sales (53 percent) and using coupons (51 percent). However, when the choice comes down to buying local or buying organic, consumers are torn. One in three were not sure (28 percent) what they would choose. Four in 10 would opt for local/non-organic (40 percent), while one in three would definitely choose organic (32 percent). Highlighting the importance of locally sourced food, consumers are shifting natural and organic dollars away from local gourmet markets (16 percent) and discount stores (15 percent) in favor of farmers’ markets (52 percent) and local food co-ops (43 percent).

    Coupon usage is high among natural and organic consumers with virtually all (99 percent) using grocery coupons regularly (77 percent) or sometimes (18 percent). Seven in 10 consumers indicated that grocery coupons influence their brand buying decisions, and they use coupons when planning their grocery list. Another two in three are paying more attention to grocery coupons than in the past and actively seek out grocery coupons online (i.e. Search, Google, Yahoo).

    Most (nine in 10) consumers are using a variety of coupon types ranging from in-store coupons (96 percent), coupons by mail (93 percent) and online printable coupons (90 percent) to magazine coupons (90 percent). About six in 10 (59 percent) use coupons added to their store frequent shopper cards, but a slightly higher share (64 percent) were interested in these retail shopper  coupons. Only one in 10 (11 percent) presently use cell phone/mobile coupons, and fewer than one in six (17 percent) were interested in receiving these mobile technology coupons in the future.

    Consumers rated produce (69 percent) as the category most important to purchase in the organic form. Other organic purchasing priorities include milk (54 percent), meat and poultry (54 percent), children’s food (53 percent), and cheese and eggs (50 percent). Respondents were least likely to identify beer and wine (7 percent), desserts and snacks (21 percent), and pet products (23 percent) as very important to buy organic.

    Notably, most survey respondents had already adopted basic “green” habits, including recycling (82 percent) and using energy-saving light bulbs (75 percent), environmentally friendly cleaning products (61 percent), and energy-efficient appliances (52 percent). Apart from energy-efficient light bulbs, those same tools ranked highest in green priority for 2010 along with eco-clothing and “green” restaurants.

    By Michelle Moran
    • About Michelle Moran

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