Organic movement bursts into mainstream due to consumer demand

CHICAGO According to the latest report from Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media research, Organic food sales have grown 132 percent since 2002, aided by health and food safety concerns, in addition to consumers seeking healthier, natural food options. In the same period, organic beverage sales nearly doubled (97 percent.) Together, the organic food and beverage markets make up a nearly $6 billion industry.

Manufacturers have jumped on the organic bandwagon, with the Mintel Global New Products Database showing 1,600 new organic products launched in the United States in 2006, more than twice the number released in 2002 (732). Retail grocers also have welcomed organics, featuring more than 300 private label products and dedicated entire departments to organic foods.

According to Mintel, 52 percent of Americans purchased organic foods in the past year, with 26 percent purchasing organic beverages—an increase from the 34 percent of consumers who bought organic products in 2002. Additionally, 32 percent of adults report purchasing organic products “as often as possible.” And the market is expected to continue growing. By 2012, organic food sales are expected to rise 59 percent, while organic beverages are projected to grow by 65 percent.

Mintel’s consumer survey also revealed that two-thirds of American said they would buy more organics if the products cost less. This suggests potential interest in private label brands, which offer cheaper prices than traditional brands.

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