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    Organic Still Key, but Cost Matters More: Study

    Mambo Sprouts Marketing survey concluded most consumers of organic products are still committed, but more of them are also looking to save money.

    Even with a recession in full force, consumers are likely to keep buying natural and organic grocery items in 2009, according to a MamboTrack study by Mambo Sprouts Marketing, which performed an online survey the buying habits of 1,066 natural and organic (N&O) consumers and their outlook for such purchases in the coming year.

    Despite further economic deterioration and the shriveling job market, eight in 10 consumers surveyed reported no plans to change their grocery shopping habits (41 percent) or that they will change them somewhat (40 percent) Just one in five (18 percent) planned considerable adjustments to their N&O shopping habits.

    The study discovered, however, that cost-cutting activities were increasing. Consumers said that they're using more grocery coupons (81 percent), stocking up more on sale items (73 percent), and cooking more meals at home (61 percent). One in two are being more choosy when buying organics (50 percent) and purchasing store-brand/private label organic products (49 percent).

    Similar to last year's study, consumers named taste (93 percent), health/nutrition benefits (89 percent), and ingredients (87 percent) as major factors in brand purchasing decisions.  But price factors ranked higher for 2009 across three categories: sale price (82 percent rating important, vs. 76 percent in 2008), coupon for brand (70 percent vs. 65 percent), and advertisement or promotion for brand (44 percent vs. 24 percent).

    Also, in deciding where to shop, consumers ranked price (71 percent vs. 60 percent rating very important) and in-store specials (52 percent vs. 44 percent) higher in importance for 2009. While consumers will continue to shop for natural and organic groceries at various outlets, they planned to shop more at farmers' markets (31 percent) and less at gourmet markets (24 percent).

    When asked what actions natural product companies and retailers could take to help with organic purchasing, nine in ten respondents requested more organics coupons (91 percent) and lower prices (88 percent). About one in two looked for a broader assortment of organic items (54 percent) and organic money-saving tips (51 percent).

    Organic Valley, America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the United States' leading organic brands team, provided manufacturer perspective in formulating the 2009 Mambo Sprouts Consumer Outlook survey.

    Mambo Sprouts' MamboTrack online survey was performed between Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, 2008.

    Collingswood, N.J.-based Mambo Sprouts Marketing is a full service health, natural and organic foods and products marketing and promotions company.

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