Report: Organic confusion remains as buying motivations diversify

Report: Organic confusion remains as buying motivations diversify

What drives consumers to buy organic? What confuses them in terms of labeling? The latest NMI report examines these issues.

NMI recently released 2015 Growing the Organic Industry: Strategies for Brand Success, a comprehensive report providing an overview of the current organic marketplace as well as tips brands can use as they target the right shoppers and improve communications going forward.

Some of the report’s interesting findings include:

Audience size.

Almost 70 percent of consumers use some type of organic product, with organic food accounting for almost 5 percent of all US food sales. This amounted to more than $35 billion in purchases in 2013.

Key shopper traits.

Organic shoppers, NMI found, tend to be very active, community involved, influential and information-seeking. And almost 40 percent of them are new shoppers to the category, joining in just the past year.

Shopper motivations.

On the one hand, organic shoppers are driven by the positive attributes of organic foods like healthier labels and the idea that organics contribute to a more sustainable environmental impact. On the other hand, many organic shoppers are driven toward organics because they’re actively avoiding negative attributes of conventional offerings such as pesticides, hormones, GMOs and processing. In fact, when it comes to processed foods with many ingredients, organic shoppers find them inherently unhealthy—whether they have an organic seal or not.

Ongoing confusion.

Most shoppers still don’t understand the regulations behind the organic label, and easily confuse organic with natural claims. In all, more than half of consumers mistakenly believe that the term “natural” means that no pesticides were used.

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