A new survey by Mambo Sprouts Marketing reveals that although price is still a major factor in determining where to shop, health-focused and natural consumers plan to buy even more organic foods this year.
Some 64 percent of the 1,000 natural product consumers surveyed plan to increase purchasing of organic foods, while 56 percent will increase purchases of non-GMO products. And among the 66 percent of consumers who seek non-GMO foods, 85 percent want those products to be specifically certified and labeled as non-GMO—great news for the Non-GMO Project.
But while seven in 10 respondents expected the label "USDA Organic" to be synonymous with non-GMO, only 41 percent expected "natural" products to be non-GMO. This sentiment will be interesting to track in 2012, as consumer battles over "natural" marketing are poised to define the currently abused word.
Natural industry already addressing consumers' needs
So which came first: the natural consumer or the natural product? The answer is a little bit of both. At Natural Products Expo East 2011, it was evident that industry already is responding to consumers' need for labeling. Non-GMO Verified signs were sprinkled all over the show floor. Last year, many companies also gave their products a makeover by ditching genetically modified ingredients.
Expo East also revealed strong trends in organic dairy and gluten-free product consumption. Perhaps it's no surprise that Mambo Sprouts found that 52 percent of respondents intend to increase purchases of ABF and hormone-free products, and 38 percent plan to increase gluten-free purchases.
While natural retailers have been catering to gluten-free and organic needs for years, one new statistic from the Mambo Sprouts' survey is worth noting: Two in three shoppers wish their favorite retail stores provided more information about non-GMO, such as signage, special sections and advertising features.
How does your business plan to meet natural consumers' needs in 2012? Tell us in the comments.