The belief that only wealthy people buy organic food is actually a myth. Ali Partovi disproved this misconception at the 2015 TedxManhattan talks, where he presented recent data on the growing market of organic shoppers.
In the past year, 3 out of 4 Americans have consciously chosen to buy organic. 25% of Americans buy organic for the vast majority of their food purchases. 2 in 5 organic shoppers make less than $50,000 a year. 20% of organic shoppers are non-white and 15% are Hispanic.
During Partovi’s Tedx talk he point blank states, “The foodie elite who are buying organic are actually the average, ordinary American.” Organic has shifted from being an all-encompassing lifestyle choice of a small population to being occasionally consumed by at least 75% of Americans.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, “Consumers prefer organically produced food because of their concerns regarding health, the environment, and animal welfare, and they show a willingness to pay the price premiums established in the marketplace.”
The primary reason why organic food is more expensive than its traditional counterparts is because the demand for organic food is growing even faster than the supplying organic cropland. Partovi claims, “We (the United States) need organic, sustainably-managed cropland in this country to increase dramatically to catch up with this demand.”
U.S. organic cropland acreage is growing but it just hasn’t kept up with the demand for organic products. The demand continues to show double-digit growth according to USDA research. Production of organic food in the U.S. increased 240% from 2002 to 2011 compared with only 3% growth of non-organic food production, according to a Food Navigator article. They estimate the U.S. organic food market will continue vast expansion until 2018.
The growing organic food industry possesses great opportunity for retailers, especially in sales. In 2012, total U.S. organic product sales were estimated at $28.4 billion, which was more than 4% of total food sales, according to USDA research quoting the Nutrition Business Journal.
Consumers are increasingly shopping for foods with fewer ingredients and ingredients they recognize. People are looking to avoid foods that have artificial ingredients, simple carbs, and gluten. They’re trading up for foods with natural ingredients, whole grains, fiber, and protein.
Roughly 75% of conventional grocery stores already carry organic products. If your store is not offering organic products, you should consider changing that. The organic food market is projected to continue growing and the price of organic products is notably higher than non-organic foods. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to increase store sales and expand your consumer market to include organic shoppers.