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U.S. families are embracing organic products in a wide range of categories, with 81 percent now reporting they purchase organic at least sometimes, according to the Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) 2013 U.S. Families Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study.
Additionally, the majority of those buying organic foods are purchasing more items than they did a year earlier, and new entrants to buying organic now represent 41 percent of all families – demonstrating increased interest in the benefits of organic food and farming.
Produce continues to be the leading category of organic purchases, with 97 percent of organic buyers saying they had purchased organic fruits or vegetables in the past six months. Breads and grains, dairy and packaged foods were also frequently cited (all scoring above 85 percent) among those who purchase organic.
Consistent with findings from previous studies, nearly half (48 percent) of those who purchase organic foods said they do so because they are “healthier for me and my children.” Additionally, parents’ desire to avoid toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers (30 percent), antibiotics and growth hormones (29 percent), and genetically modified organisms (22 percent) ranked high among the reasons cited for buying organic products.
Awareness of the USDA Organic seal has also grown, with consumers more likely to look for the seal when shopping for organic products. Further, four in 10 parents (42 percent) said their trust in organic products has increased, versus 32 percent who indicated this point of view a year ago.
“Consumer trust is on the upswing for organic as the gold standard when seeking to avoid toxic and persistent pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetically engineered ingredients, and additives,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director.
The OTA is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Study findings, gathered in partnership with KIWI magazine, are based on responses from 1,239 U.S. households.