According to the Organic Trade Association, organic product sales reached $43 billion in 2015. With an increase of almost 11%, nearly 3 times the growth of the overall food market, the industry has experienced double digit growth for the past four years. More than 50 million, or 1 in 5 persons, regularly buy organic food. What is fueling this growth? Nielsen Scarborough examined the Organic Food Buyer to provide a glimpse into what motivates consumers to buy organic.
More than 6 out of 10 Organic Food Buyers agree they buy natural products either for health or environmental concerns. Many might assume that Organic Food Buyers have a healthy diet. But interestingly, when asked how they evaluate their diet at home in terms of health and wellness, most felt their diets could use some improvement. Three quarters of Organic Food Buyers reported they currently participate in a nutrition program with half saying they did so to achieve good health and 4 out of 10 to lose weight. Three in five Organic Food Buyers said they considered their diets to be either average or unhealthy, making improvement of eating habits and weight loss a major motivator for organic food purchasing.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle also provides motivation for organic food purchasing. Six out of 10 Organic Food Buyers consider their health to be excellent/very good. One in four said their health is somewhat to much better compared to a year ago, making them 20% more likely than the average adult to have improved their health over the past year. In addition to paying attention to their nutrition, they are also more likely to follow a regular exercise program. Organic Food Buyers are 54% more likely to belong to a gym or health club.
As for their environmental concerns, in addition to eating organic, these buyers are 23% more likely than the average adult to agree they are more environmentally conscious than most. They are 57% more likely to use cloth/reusable shopping bags, 33% more likely to use less water at home, 20% more likely to recycle and 16% more likely to use energy efficient light bulbs. And they are willing to put their money behind their environmental beliefs as they are nearly 3 times as likely as to agree they will pay more for eco-friendly products and services.
Organic food purchasing is being fueled by consumers who want to improve their health through better food choices and exercise programs. Additionally, these consumers are looking to engage in eco-friendly activities that will reduce their carbon footprints and decrease the chemicals in the environment and their bodies. Tapping into these health and environmental motivations can help organic marketers capitalize on the explosive growth in the industry.