Many Americans Make Eating Organic Food a Top Choice to Protect Health, According to New Survey by Walnut Acres

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y.--(BW HealthWire)--April 9, 2002--Eating organic foods and beverages ranks as one of the top methods for ensuring long-term health along with taking vitamins and cutting calories, according to a national survey conducted for Walnut Acres, America's original organic food company.

Americans are convinced that these health choices make a meaningful difference. Nine in 10 Americans (90%) believe one's lifestyle plays a critical role in determining long-term health and nearly six in 10 (58%) say they are thinking about the future when making food choices. For many, that means consuming organic foods and beverages. The majority of Americans (56%) believe that organic foods and beverages are healthier than non-organics and 57% believe that "eating and drinking organic foods and beverages from childhood helps protect people from possible health problems."

"Americans clearly see organic eating as a way to take control of their long-term health," said Mark Koide, vice president of marketing of Acirca, Inc., maker of Walnut Acres. "We are giving consumers high-quality, great tasting certified organic foods and beverages that provide a convenient way to care for themselves and protect their future health."

Taking Control of Long-Term Health

Most Americans (56%) believe that organics are healthier than non-organics. When asked to select from a list of actions that they personally consider good choices for long-term health, Americans reported:

      1. Taking vitamin/mineral supplements 67%


      2. Substantially reducing caloric intake (62%)


      3. Eating or drinking organics (47%)


      4. Cutting out carbohydrates/ adding protein (36%)


      5. Eating a vegetarian diet (15%)


    6. Taking diet pills to suppress appetite (5%)

Reported as "Good choices for people trying to help ensure their long-term health"

Taking Care of the Family

Americans also see organic eating as a way to take good care of their families. Six in 10 organic purchasers (61%) say they're buying for the entire family, and this percentage increases to nine in 10 (89%) among parents who buy organic foods and beverages. Two-thirds of organic purchasers say major reasons for buying are that "organics are better for me and my family" (68%), organics are healthier than non-organic foods and beverages (66%), and "I feel like I am taking good care of myself and my family when I choose organic products (65%)."

Organic Industry Growth

These positive perceptions may help explain why organic foods have grown more than 24% per year for the past decade--ten times the growth of conventional foods. Sales of organic foods and beverages totaled $8 billion in 2000 and are expected to reach $20 billion by 2005.

The survey from Walnut Acres found that currently more than half of Americans (51%) buy organic foods or beverages at least sometimes, and about four in 10 expect that organic foods (44%) and beverages (38%) will be an increasing part of their diets in the next five years. A good sign for industry growth: younger adults are buying even more organics than the general population. Nearly seven in 10 (68%) of 18- to 24-year-olds say they purchase organic foods or beverages "every time" or "sometimes" when they go shopping.

Food safety concerns are also expected to drive sales of organic food products. Three fourths (74%) of all Americans say they are concerned about the safety of foods today and the majority (87%) of organic purchasers are motivated to buy organics because they are safer. Many worry about "mystery ingredients" in non-organics: 74% of all Americans agree that "with non-organic foods and beverages, you never know what hidden ingredients you are eating." New legislation mandates clear labeling of products that are - and are not - certified organic.

New Labeling Requirements

Beginning in October 2002, products with at least 95% organic content may carry a "USDA Organic" seal, indicating the product fulfills the new standards of the National Organic Program (NOP). All Walnut Acres products will carry the seal. For the first time, consumers nationwide will be able to select a food labeled "organic" knowing that it meets a strict, consistent standard, no matter where it is produced or sold. Moreover, the use of the "USDA Organic" seal will signify that the maker follows the rigorous NOP certification program and is reviewed by certified inspectors.

The Walnut Acres survey found that more than seven in 10 Americans (72%) say that if presented with two identical foods, they would be more likely to purchase the one with an organic seal than the one without, all other things being equal. "The USDA Organic seal will increase consumer confidence and trust that all products carrying the seal meet strict, consistent federal guidelines," Koide said.

Survey Methodology

The study was conducted by RoperASW via telephone among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 or older. The sample was collected March 1 - March 3, 2002, using Random Digit Dialing methodology.

Walnut Acres
Walnut Acres produces the finest quality certified organic soups, pasta sauces, juices and salsas. All Walnut Acres products meet or exceed the strict U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program standards for certified organic foods and beverages. Walnut Acres products never contain synthetic preservatives, artificial sweeteners, sulfites, extenders, stabilizers, MSG, artificial flavors or colorings.

Established in 1946, Walnut Acres is America's original organic food company and is owned by New Rochelle, N.Y.-based Acirca, Inc., makers of fine certified organic foods and beverages. The name Acirca is inspired by the phrase "a circle of life" and reflects the company's commitment to the development of products that help consumers obtain better health and are good for the environment. Acirca is a privately held company owned collectively by company employees and independent investors. The company strives to bring convenience in packaged certified organic foods to health-conscious consumers wherever they shop.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To review additional survey findings, visit or call Beth Corwin at 212-229-0500 ext. 257 to receive additional survey data findings.

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