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New Hope 360 Blog

Natural and organic purchases up, but do consumers know the difference?

More shoppers are buying organic, according to Whole Foods Market’s annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey of 1,349 adults aged 46 to 64 and 2,135 adults aged 18 and older. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say that natural and/or organic foods comprise more than a quarter of their total food purchases this year, up from 20 percent last year.

This is great news for natural products retailers. Of course, the survey falls short by not separating organic from natural. These are confusing terms for consumers, and, by lumping them together in the press release if not in the actual survey, Whole Foods continues to blur the distinction. I’d like to see how many shoppers filled their carts with one or the other and why.

In NFM’s upcoming report by Jane Hoback in the September issue, we reveal that more consumers are choosing natural over organic because they think it’s a more honest, unpretentious term. And they see organic as merely a marketing buzzword.


If you want to clear up misperceptions about organic, check out our tips for educating your customers, which will be released in a few weeks. In the meantime, here's a teaser: Post "Did you know" signs around the store, highlighting the latest data on a controversial ingredient--say a pesticide linked to ADD in children, according to the journal Pediatrics--and that isn't in organic foods.

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