TABS Group survey notes upswing in organic food sales

Younger consumers more likely to purchase such items

SHELTON, Conn. — Organic food sales are continuing on an upward trend as more shoppers frequented mainstream stores for the products and younger consumers were the most loyal to purchasing such items, a TABS Group survey found.

According to TABS Group's annual organic product survey, which polled 1,000 consumers ages 18 to 75 years, total organic product sales rose approximately 15% to 20% for the year, while the percentage of consumers that claimed they purchased organic products increased from 39.8% in 2011 to 41.8% in 2012. The survey also found an 11% increase in the number of product types purchased by a typical organic shopper, including such staple items as vegetables, meat, milk and eggs. Meanwhile, chicken, beef, ice cream and hair care products realized gains.

When it comes to where these items are purchased, 62% of consumers said they buy organic products at mainstream retail stores, versus natural food or specialty stores (38%). Younger consumers also were a key demographic, TABS Group said, as 48% of respondents younger than 40 years old reported using organic products, versus 34% of those ages 60 years and older. What's more, respondents under 30 years of age bought on average 4.6 different organic products, compared with 2.9 different products purchased by people ages 60 years and older.

"Younger consumers, with typically the least disposable income, show the greatest loyalty to organics. This likely will increase organics' sales and market share over time as their buying power grows and their preference is passed on to their children," TABS Group CEO Kurt Jetta said.

TABS added that people earning less than $30,000 a year and those with children purchased more organic products than higher earners and those without children.

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