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NMI Market Trends #9: Functionality, Purity Drive Consumer Goods Growth

Consumers show increased interest in the intersection between health benefits and naturalness.

Harleysville, Pa. (September 30, 2004) – The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), the leading provider of strategic consulting and market research services within the health, wellness, and sustainability industries, today expanded on one of the trends it has identified as having a significant effect on the health and wellness marketplace. This trend is the ninth in the series of “NMI’s Top 10 Trends of 2004.”

Trend #9: Functionality & Purity Drive Many Consumer Goods
According to trends culled from NMI’s research databases, consumers increasingly seek the functional benefits of many consumer packaged goods (including foods, beverages, personal care, among others) ---especially those that are produced in harmony with nature. One example – between 2002 and 2003, the number of consumers citing the use of soy foods rose from 17 percent to 22 percent, an increase of 27% overall.

“As consumers become more aware and educated about the specific benefits associated with a particular product, it follows that we see changes in consumer behavior patterns.” said Steve French, managing partner for NMI. “Whereby it takes time for consumers to fully understand all that a product has to offer in terms of benefits, that knowledge and sophistication can translate into considerable opportunities in the market,” French said. He points out that the Atkins diet, which appeared to have caught on as an overnight sensation, was actually first published in a book in 1972. Similarly, it took a consumer-and industry-driven effort of more than a decade to yield a unified set of USDA Organic standards, which have further driven the consumer awareness and sales of organic products.

In addition to seeking a variety of functional benefits, consumers are concerned with the methods used to produce the ingredients in their products. Fifty-three percent feel that “it is important for a store to have foods grown without pesticides,” while 35 percent “want products without genetically modified ingredients.” French sees the growth of products perceived to have functional benefits, and those produced naturally or under organic standards as part of a larger health and wellness consumer movement. “Consumers can now pick up a container of organic soymilk and appreciate its natural phytoestrogens and its benefits to heart health, as well as the fact that it was produced in harmony with nature,” said French.

NMI's Top Trends of 2004 are the result of the company’s annual Health and Wellness Trends Database™ and LOHAS Consumer Trends Database™ research projects, based on research studies from more than 15,000 U.S. consumer households. The databases are nationally projectable to the general population and statistically valid to +/-2%.


NMI is a strategic consulting, market research, and business development company specializing in the health, wellness, and sustainable marketplace. This release is one in a series of eleven articulating NMI’s Top 10 Trends of 2004. For more information, or to read the other releases in the series, visit the press section of NMI’s Web site at

Joe Marra
215.513.7300 ext. 222

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