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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Organic food shoppers mostly see the category as safer, better for the environment, and healthier, but more expensive, according to the findings of a poll of 2,392 adults surveyed by Harris Interactive. The overwhelming majority of organic food buyers polled found such products to be worth the additional cost, however.
In the poll, conducted online between Sept. 11 and Sept. 18, just 7 percent of all adults said they purchase organic food "all or most of the time." A further 31 percent said they buy it on occasion.
The consumer segments more likely to buy organic foods on a regular basis are college graduates (11 percent), Liberals (11 percent), Westerners (10 percent), echo boomers (those aged 18-30; 10 percent), and Gen Xers (those aged 31-42; 9 percent).
Shoppers who buy organics (including those who buy them occasionally and rarely) said that their organic purchases are much more likely to have increased (32 percent) than to have decreased (5 percent), evidence that organic food consumption has been gaining in popularity.
Also according to the research, large majorities of the public said they believe that organic food is better for the environment (79 percent) and healthier (76 percent). Nearly all frequent organic food buyers believe this (92 percent and 98 percent, respectively).
Most (86 percent) frequent organic food buyers also think it tastes better, but only 39 percent of all adults feel the same way.
Almost everyone (95 percent of the public, including 88 percent of frequent organic food buyers) thought organic food is higher-priced. A little over a third (36 percent), including almost all (91 percent) frequent organic food buyers, believes that "organic food is much better for you" and that "the extra expense is worth it to have better food." While 29 percent believe it to be "a waste of money, as it is no better for you than conventional foods," 36 percent aren't sure.
The many respondents with positive attitudes to organic food suggest that the increase in organic food consumption is likely to grow and, in a few years' time, could make up much bigger share of the food market, according to Harris Interactive.
The 13th-largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest-running, independent opinion polls, and for pioneering online market research methods.