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Consumer Attitudes Toward Natural and Organic Food and Beverage - US - March 2010

While many sectors of the economy have been negatively impacted by the economic downturn, the natural/organic sectors of the food and beverage business (NOFB) have proven to be quite resilient. Most segments of the NOFB industry continued to experience growth throughout the economic downturn because many users have integrated the products into their lifestyles and define themselves, in part, as users of natural/organic products. In other words, usage is partly a function of seeking better health for themselves and the environment, but it is also a function of the fact that many make this choice as a lifestyle definer.

In order to explore the attitudes of NOFB users and gain a better understanding as to how these affect sales, Mintel addressed the following questions:

  • What influence do the healthy eating and cooking at home trends have on demand for NOFB?
  • How have obesity and sustainability trends impacted interest in NOFB?
  • What types of products have market leaders developed to appeal to the attitudes and lifestyles of natural/organic users?
  • To what extent has the recession driven users to “trade down” from name brands to private label, and to what extent have they been compelled to trade down from organic to natural?
  • How widespread is interest in vegetarian and vegan foods among those who use natural/organic foods and beverages?
  • How do attitudinal and behavioral trends in the natural/organic market compare to broader trends analyzed in Mintel’s American Lifestyles—US, January 2010?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising clips
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • Market factors: Rising interest in healthy eating
                        • Market factors: Obesity
                          • Market factors: Sustainability
                            • Perceptions of “natural” and “organic” meaning
                              • Interest in natural/organic options
                                • Category usage in NOFB
                                  • Impact of the recession on NOFB usage
                                    • Shifts in brand/private label usage
                                      • Influence of parallel movements; local, Fair Trade, vegetarianism
                                      • Insights and Opportunities

                                        • Schools could become NOFB industry’s most important customers
                                          • Pitching the flavor factor
                                            • Overcoming resistance to premiums may be as easy as telling the truth
                                            • Inspire Insights

                                              • The Rise of Behavioral Economics
                                                • What's it about?
                                                  • What we've seen
                                                    • Specifics
                                                      • Implications
                                                      • Market Factors: Rising Interest in Healthy Eating

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Usage driven largely by association with health and wellness
                                                            • Figure 1: Interest in natural/organic products, by diet healthfulness compared to last year, December 2009
                                                            • Figure 2: Interest in natural/organic products, by diet healthfulness, December 2009
                                                          • Aging population drives many to think more about their health
                                                            • Figure 3: U.S. population, by age, 2004-14
                                                          • Need to increase fruit and vegetable intake adds to appeal of natural
                                                            • Figure 4: Average daily per capita calories consumed*, by food group, 1970-2004
                                                          • Cooking at home trend goes hand in hand with simple living and nutrition
                                                            • Figure 5: Strategies for dealing with recessionary pressures, by household income, October 2009
                                                            • Figure 6: Time spent cooking vs. going out or getting takeout, October 2009
                                                          • Appeal to cooks with American, Italian and Mexican cuisines
                                                            • Figure 7: Top 10 cuisines among casual and serious enthusiasts, June 2008
                                                          • Incidence of overall product claims slow but increasingly common on natural/organic
                                                            • Figure 8: Top "Low/No" claims across all food categories (with overall rank # in total top 20 claims), 2005-09
                                                            • Figure 9: Top "Low/No" claims across food products that are natural/organic (with overall rank # in total top 20 claims), 2005-09
                                                        • Market Factors: Obesity

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Record high obesity rates cause some to embrace natural/organic
                                                              • Figure 10: Trended Nationwide (States, DC, and Territories) incidence of overweight and obesity, 1995-2007
                                                              • Figure 11: Perception of weight relative to height, by age, January 2009
                                                            • First Lady and new legislative efforts likely to drive growth of BFY options including NOFB
                                                            • Market Factors: Sustainability

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Educated affluents use more natural/organic and are more likely to express concerns about the environment
                                                                    • Figure 12: Environmental attitudes among Mosaic clusters mostly likely to use natural/organic products, November 2008-June 2009
                                                                  • Environmental concerns have been growing among users
                                                                    • Figure 13: Concern about the environment compared with one year ago, by age, September 2009
                                                                  • Use of green products slowed as a result of recession but demand remains relatively strong
                                                                    • Figure 14: Change in frequency of purchasing different categories of green products, 2007-09
                                                                    • Figure 15: Sales of natural products through conventional FDMx and natural supermarkets segmented by product type, 2006 and 2008
                                                                  • Sustainability in action: the cases of Stonyfield Farm and Whole Foods
                                                                    • Stonyfield Farm
                                                                      • Whole Foods Market
                                                                      • Brand Qualities

                                                                        • Kashi: Ethnic healthy-gourmet dishes that can be prepared in minutes
                                                                          • Amy’s Kitchen
                                                                          • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                            • Overview
                                                                              • Sun Chips leverages eco-friendly packaging to gain an edge
                                                                                • Figure 16: Sun Chips compostable chip bag, television ad, 2010
                                                                                • Figure 17: Sun Chips; See it, feel it, worship it, taste it, television ad, 2008
                                                                              • Websites critical tool for many natural/organic marketers
                                                                                • Kashi.com
                                                                                  • Wholefoods.com
                                                                                  • Perceptions of “Natural” and “Organic” Meaning

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Many confused about meaning of terms and standards
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Trust and understanding of the terms “natural” and “organic”, September 2009
                                                                                      • Interest in Natural/Organic Options

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Young adults significantly more likely to have interest in natural/organic
                                                                                              • Figure 19: Interest in natural/organic products, by age, December 2009
                                                                                            • Interest somewhat higher within upper income segments
                                                                                              • Figure 20: Interest in natural/organic products, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                            • About six in 10 users willing to pay a price premium
                                                                                              • Figure 21: Willingness to pay for natural/organic products, and attitudes towards healthfulness and belief in natural/organic claims, by age, September 2009
                                                                                          • Natural/Organic Usage, by Lifestyle Segment

                                                                                            • Key point
                                                                                              • Educated affluents more likely to embrace the category
                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Food shopping/diet, by high demand Mosaic clusters, November 2008 – June 2009
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Use of fresh produce (organic, non-organic), by high demand Mosaic clusters, November 2008 – June 2009
                                                                                              • Category Usage

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Produce still the hot category
                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Use of natural/organic proteins and produce, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 25: Use of natural/organic packaged food/beverage, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                    • Income has little influence on use of natural, but is a key factor in organics
                                                                                                      • Figure 26: Use of natural/organic proteins and produce, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Use of natural/organic packaged food/beverage, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                  • The Recession’s Impact on Consumer Behavior Regarding NOFB

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Most users consume about the same amount of natural, despite recession
                                                                                                        • Natural products
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Impact of recession on use of natural food and drink, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Impact of recession on use of natural food, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                          • Organic products
                                                                                                              • Figure 30: Impact of recession on use of organics, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                              • Figure 31: Impact of recession on use of organics, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                            • Young adults and low-income users more likely to trade down from organic to natural
                                                                                                                • Figure 32: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                            • Types of Brands Used

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Most buy a mix of private label and name brands
                                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Natural/organic brands purchased, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                • Most users of national brands remain loyal
                                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits with name brands in response to recession, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                • Young adults and those with modest incomes search for the cheapest of natural/organic private labels
                                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits with private label in response to recession, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                              • Influence of Local and Fair Trade Claims

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Demand for local much higher than Fair Trade
                                                                                                                        • Figure 37: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                        • Figure 38: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                    • Interest in Vegetarian and Vegan Options

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Young adults and affluents more likely to have interest in “going veg”
                                                                                                                            • Figure 39: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                        • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Asians and whites more likely to self-identify as healthy
                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Healthfulness of diet, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                            • Asians and Hispanics more likely to be very interested in natural/organic
                                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Interest in natural/organic products, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                            • Blacks more likely to use mostly natural/organic private label
                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Natural/organic brands purchased, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                            • Minorities somewhat more likely to trade down from organic to natural
                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                            • Asians much more likely to have interest in vegetarian and vegan foods
                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                              • Under-using unchanged
                                                                                                                                • Who they are
                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                    • All-naturals
                                                                                                                                      • Who they are
                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                          • Organics
                                                                                                                                            • Who they are
                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: All-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Healthfulness rating, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Healthfulness of diet, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Interest in natural/organic products, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Natural/organic purchases, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Impact of the recession on natural/organic purchases, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by all-natural/organic purchaser clusters, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Demographic tables:
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: All-natural/organic purchaser clusters, by gender, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: All-natural/organic purchaser clusters, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: All-natural/organic purchaser clusters, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: All-natural/organic purchaser clusters, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Cluster methodology:
                                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                  • Natural/organic users more likely to be interested in Fair Trade
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Use of natural/organic food and drink, by interest in Fair Trade, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                    • Parents more likely to show high interest
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Interest in natural/organic, by male and female parental status, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                      • Young adults of all races and genders are a critical segment that holds growth opportunity
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Interest in natural/organic, by young adult sub-group, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • More than one in three users healthier than last year
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Changed in organic and natural purchase in response to recession, by healthy diet group, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                          • By age
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Healthfulness of diet, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Diet compared to last year, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by age, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • By household income
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 64: Healthfulness of diet, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 65: Diet compared to last year, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 67: Natural/organic brands purchased, by household income, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • By race/Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 68: Diet compared to last year, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 69: Use of natural/organic proteins and produce, by race/Hispanic origin December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 70: Use of natural/organic sectors, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Impact of recession on use of natural food, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 72: Impact of recession on use of organics, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 73: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 74: Changed natural/organic purchasing habits in response to recession, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 75: Interest in natural/organic products with certain claims, by race/Hispanic origin, December 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                          • American Dietetic Association (ADA)
                                                                                                                                                          • American Herbal Products Association
                                                                                                                                                          • American Medical Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                          • Amy's Kitchen Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                          • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                                                                                                                                                          • Clorox Company , The
                                                                                                                                                          • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                          • Food Marketing Institute
                                                                                                                                                          • Frito-Lay, Inc
                                                                                                                                                          • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                          • Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA)
                                                                                                                                                          • HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC)
                                                                                                                                                          • Kashi Co. Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Kellogg Company
                                                                                                                                                          • Natural Products Association
                                                                                                                                                          • Organic Alliance
                                                                                                                                                          • Organic Consumers Association
                                                                                                                                                          • Organic Trade Association
                                                                                                                                                          • Pepsi-Cola North America
                                                                                                                                                          • Safeway Inc
                                                                                                                                                          • Stonyfield Farm
                                                                                                                                                          • Supervalu Inc
                                                                                                                                                          • Target Corporation
                                                                                                                                                          • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                          • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Bureau of the Census
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                                                                                          • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                          • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                          • Yelp Inc.

                                                                                                                                                          Consumer Attitudes Toward Natural and Organic Food and Beverage - US - March 2010

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