Survey: Organic food sales remain strong

Published on
December 20, 2009

Despite consumers’ economic challenges over the past year, many have stuck with their organic food and beverage purchasing behaviors, according to a new report.

Chicago-based market research firm Mintel and SPINS, a natural products retail and consulting firm, found that nearly 40 percent of consumers have not changed their organic product purchasing habits due to the recession. In addition, refrigerated organic food and drink product sales grew 15.2 percent from 2007 through 2009.

While heavy users of natural and organic food and drinks are most likely to indicate that they have traded down to less expensive options, “less frequent consumers of organic products have shown that they haven’t shifted their behavior,” said David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. “This is good news for the organic food and drink market, as this group may begin to buy more once recession-related fears begin to fade.”

However, 3 percent of those surveyed said they have stopped buying organic products altogether. And supermarket sales in the organic food and drink market declined 0.3 percent in 2009. In addition, 23 percent of households with parents have traded down, and 21 percent have cut back on organic purchases.

Mintel and SPINs expect the organic food and drink market to recover gradually from 2010 through 2012, but not at pre-recession growth rates.

“Consumers have made shifts in their purchasing behavior that are likely to carry on through this time period,” said Mintel and SPINS in the report.

Mintel expects organic food and beverages sales to reach USD 6.2 billion (EUR 4.3 billion) in retail outlets by the end of 2009. By 2012, sales are projected to reach nearly USD 8 billion (EUR 5.6 billion), growing 28 percent from 2010 through 2012.

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