Organic product purchases increase at traditional grocers

SHELTON, Conn. — Organic product purchases among consumers have been fairly consistent over the past three years, but more shoppers are looking to mass retailers to purchase such items.

According to the TABS Group, a marketing research and consulting company, more than one-quarter (27%) of 1,000 consumers purchased organic fresh fruits, the highest penetration category. Additionally, the firm noted that while skin care and hair care were the only two categories that experienced consecutive years of annual gains of 7% and 5%, respectively, milk (16%) and ice cream (4%) experienced declines in consecutive years.

In terms of places to buy organic purchases, the big winners over the year were traditional grocers, which rose from 41% to 44.1%, and Target, which increased from 1.8% to 4.1%. Total natural foods outlets fell from being the most preferred by 26.8% in 2009 to 24.4% in January 2011, a 9% drop, according to Kurt Jetta, TABS Group founder and president. Jetta added that increased organic SKUs boosted traditional grocers as a go-to for consumers to buy the organic products.

"Any growth in organics from one outlet must ... necessarily come at the expense of another channel," Jetta said.

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