Consumers' organic purchases continue to grow, diversify

According to the SPINS Consumer Report for Mid Year 2010, the percent of US households purchasing organic products inched slightly higher from 67% to 68%, based on all outlet consumer scanned shopping behavior.

Consumers continue to buy organics despite the lingering pressures the recession has brought to the family budget. According to the SPINS Consumer Report for Mid Year 2010, the percent of US households purchasing organic products inched slightly higher from 67% to 68%, based on all outlet consumer scanned shopping behavior.

“What lies beneath the surface of that relatively stable number of organic consumers is an evolution in organic shopping behavior,” says Mary Ellen Lynch, Director of Consumer Insights at SPINS. “An analysis of the on-going buying behavior of over forty two thousand organic buying households reveals continued consumer expansion in the sector.” Total US household penetration for organics grew in 34 categories, a fact suggesting that organic consumers are increasing the diversity of products within in their basket. The top growing categories attracting the greatest number of incremental consumers are as follows:

Rank by Consumer All- Outlet Dollar Growth

Category

Percentage Point Increase in # of Households Purchasing Organics

1

Packaged Fresh Produce

+1.1

2

Yogurt & Kefir

+1.3

3

Energy Bars & Gels

+.8

4

Sweeteners  

+1.4

5

Soup

+.9

6

Refrigerated Condiments Coffee, Coffee

+.4

 

7

Substitutes and Cocoa

+.5

8

Eggs  

+.7

Undoubtedly conventional retailer attention to the organic sector has played a role in the penetration growth for these categories. As retailers focus their attention on Shopper Marketing to improve their bottom line, some have looked to strategically enhancing assortment in selected categories to keep the coveted high-value organic shoppers in their store. That shopper is a consumer who on average spends 31% more annually on all products (not just organic) vs. the non-organic shopper. Though the organic consumer already routinely shops conventional channels, with 99% shopping grocery, 95% shopping Mass Merchandiser and 55% shopping Warehouse club, the result of evolving retail focus on the organic sector has driven migration of organic consumers between the conventional channels for selected organic categories.

Organic Category

 

Biggest Gain in Share of

Category Consumers

Negatively Impacted by

Consumer Shift

Refrigerated Condiments

Warehouse Club (+41 points)

Grocery Stores

Conserves/Jams/Spreads

Warehouse Club (+27 points)

Grocery Stores

Pancake/waffle mix

Mass Merchandiser (+13 points)

Grocery Stores

Sweeteners

Warehouse Club (+11 points)

Grocery Stores

Snack Bars

Grocery Stores (+11 points)

Mass Merchandisers

Nuts/Seeds/Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Warehouse Club (+10 points)

Grocery Stores

Eggs

 

Mass Merchandiser (+9 points)

Grocery Stores

 

Baking Mixes

Grocery Stores (+8 points)

Mass Merchandisers

Nut and Seed Butter

 

Warehouse Club (+8 points)

Grocery Stores

Refrigerated Sushi and Grab&Go Meals/Entrees

Warehouse Club (+8 points)

Grocery Stores

 

Despite the increased organic activity in conventional retailers, sales of organic products in the Natural channel continue to flourish. According to SPINS, organic dollar sales in the Natural channel were up 8.5% in 2010 versus 2009—a clear indication that the channel’s commitment to the Natural consumer expressed through deep organic assortment and innovation resonates with the organic shopper. “Trends indicate that the organic sector will continue to grow as more consumers recognize that purchasing organics is a simple and efficient solution to addressing many of their families’ health and wellness and food safety concerns as well as over-arching sustainability goals. An organic shopping strategy becomes increasingly viable for all US households as access is increased through the growing presence of organic products in major conventional outlets,” says Tony Olson, CEO of SPINS.

About SPINS

SPINS was founded in 1995 as the first company to offer Natural Products sales data to the industry. Today, it is the premier provider of industry reporting and consulting services for this rapidly expanding sector. SPINS’ comprehensive offering includes retail measurement services, content-based reporting, consumer information and consulting services. Learn more at www.spins.com.

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