perceptions of the health benefits of organics has been enough to
change their shopping behavior, and this may increase as more and
more studies emerge that prove the health benefits of organics. So
while health-related messaging directly tied to organic can’t be used
in labeling, it’s clearly a benefit that consumers seek. Manufacturers
should support, and address this interest in other ways.
“C“Companies must look for ways to encourage trial,
whether it be via free samples, in-store tastings,
or compelling visuals in all marketing materials
campaigns have had some success, an
examination of the net of all three
measures clearly indicates that more
education may still be needed.
Approximately half of the general
population/primary grocery shoppers agree with all three of the statements, which means that half have
no, or only partial, understanding of
the regulations. Continued education
efforts will need to play an important
role in the marketing of organics.
that create the expectation of great taste.”
Across the three product categories—produce, packaged foods
and beverages—motivating factors vary. For instance, within produce, “better for me and my family” is the primary reason for use.
However, this reason ranks second for beverages. A similar variant is
evident for “to avoid additives, pesticides and toxins” which is much
more of a motivating force for produce than for beverages.
Environmental benefits, thought to be a major force in organic
usage, are clearly not the primary motivation to many consumers.
“To help protect the environment” ranked number nine out of the
top ten factors. This is likely a function of the growth of the industry.
As organics become increasingly mainstream, personal motivations
will take precedence over global/societal benefits for the majority of
Given the motivations that consumers cite, marketers may find
that in general consumers respond more positively to messaging that
addresses their personal interests first.
Trended Understanding of Organic Regulations
Since 2001, consumers’ understanding of what the
term “organic” refers to has increased significantly.
This understanding is obviously crucial to the continued expansion of the organic marketplace.
As shown in Figure 2, consumer understanding of
the fact that organics do not contain genetically modified ingredients saw compound annual growth (CAG)
of 5. 4 percent between 2001 and 2006. This coincides
with other NMI research that shows that awareness of
the term “genetic modification” has grown 1.2 percent
in the same time period.
Consumer understanding of the fact that organics
do not contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
shows a CAG of 2.9 percent and that they are grown
without chemical pesticides shows a 3. 6 percent CAG.
While the increase in understanding of these elements of organics indicates that consumer outreach
Barriers to Trial
Recently, organic foods, and in
particular organic produce, have
been challenged by locally
grown/locally produced offerings.
Local products offer consumers several key attributes: freshness, belief in
higher nutritional content and
“hometown” industry. An equal number ( 38 percent) of organic users and
non-users feel it’s more important to
buy local than to buy organic.
Buying local is believed to support
local economies and possibly the
small “hometown” producers. The
affection for small hometown stores is
particularly strong among organic
users and results in purchases of non-organic products.
A secondary, but important, attribute of organic foods/beverages is
freshness. Consumers now have the
Percentage of general population/primary grocery
shoppers agreeing completely/somewhat that organic
© Natural Marketing Institute, 2006