This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the natural food market and organic food market including natural food market size and organic food market size, anticipated market forecast, relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for the natural and organic food market in the US.

Current market landscape

Overwhelming agreement among consumers that natural and organic foods should be more affordable (80%) – even among those consumers decidedly against natural and organic purchase (89%) – points to a larger theme of disengagement based in skepticism related to premium costs. As natural and organic brands ride the waves of inflationary chaos right alongside conventional, they must work overtime to continue clearly communicating their differentiating factors – even to consumers already presently engaged and in support.

Market share and key industry trends

  • Dynamic needs call for blended product type repertoires
    Nearly all consumers purchase a blend of conventional, natural and organic regardless of sentiments toward natural or organic. However, only 22% report purchasing exclusively natural or organic products, and even fewer (6%) purchase exclusively organic.
  • Affordability is the ultimate barrier to expanded natural and organic engagement
    Predictably, there is a clear association between organic purchase and income level, with a 12-point difference in engagement between those earning less than $50,000 and those earning over $75,000.
  • Environmental impact may be a plus, but it won’t move the needle
    Half of consumers engaging with organic do so because they perceive it as healthy, followed by desires to avoid unwanted extras (ie artificial ingredients (38%), pesticides (35%)).

Future market trends in natural food market and organic food market

One of the biggest threats to the natural and organic markets is sheer product accessibility complicated by the many (and mounting) food production challenges: extreme weather and labor shortages, inflation’s continued attack on all things CPG and distrust in the food system itself. Understand how presently engaged natural and organic shoppers’ blended (and fluid) product type repertoires poise brands for cross-category interest in both natural and organic; expanding lines to capture the spectrum of needs ensures that compromises in preferred product purchase, if necessary, do not mean losing a consumer altogether.

Walking the walk and leading with transparency and clear value communications is the surest way to preserve brand integrity, build consumer trust and come out ahead once the storm passes.

Read on to discover more about the natural food consumer market and organic food consumer market, read our How America Dines Market Report 2021 or take a look at our other Eating Habits and Food Trends research reports.

Quickly understand this organic food market report

  • External market factors impacting the natural and organic food landscape.
  • Competitive strategies and market opportunities for natural and organic brands.
  • Conventional versus natural and organic product type purchase by food and beverage category.
  • Changes in purchase compared to one year ago.
  • Organic product purchase motivators and barriers.
  • Opinions and attitudes toward natural and organic products.

Covered in this natural food market report

Brands include: Sprouts, Misfit Markets, AeroFarms, Bowery, Market Wagon, Instacart, Heritage Local Co., Simple Truth, Dirt Kitchen, Benton’s, Two Good, Honest Tea, Eat the Change, Good & Gather.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Adriana Chychula, a leading analyst in the Food, Drink, and Nutrition sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis on natural food industry market research and organic food industry market research to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Natural and organic brands’ uphill battle in justifying their products’ prices has only gotten steeper as inflation’s record grip heightens sensitivity to sticker shock and scrutiny toward all products’ value. Walking the walk has never been more important for natural and organic brands’ survival; done well, they can position themselves as reliable providers of quality and integrity that stand out against pervasive distrust in our food system as a whole.

Adriana Chychula, Food, Drink, and Nutrition Analyst
Adriana Chychula
Analyst, Food, Drink and Nutrition

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: Product type purchase, 2022
                  • Figure 2: Category outlook, 2022-27
                • Opportunities and challenges
                  • Help consumers make the most of what they have
                    • Figure 3: Natural and organic products attitudes, 2022
                  • Reduce, reuse, upcycle
                    • Marry health with environment in “better for us”
                      • Figure 4: Organic purchase motivators, 2022
                    • Clearly communicate differentiators to justify price, expand cross-category interest
                      • Figure 5: product type purchase, by food and beverage category, 2022
                      • Figure 6: Barriers to organic product purchase, 2022
                  • Natural and Organic Food Shoppers by the Numbers

                        • Figure 7: Natural/organic food shopper consumer segmentation, 2022
                        • Figure 8: Any natural/organic purchase, by consumer segmentation, 2022
                      • Mindless Shoppers
                        • Natural and Organic Fanatics
                          • Natural and Organic Naysayers
                            • Natural and Organic Value Hunters
                            • Market Factors

                              • Sky high prices alienate already unpredictable natural/organic user base
                                • Figure 9: Disposable Personal Income, 2007-22
                                • Figure 10: Sprouts Farmers Market Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts with Rib Meat
                              • Extreme drought, “heatflation” strains organic food production
                                • Figure 11: Percent of western land area experiencing drought, 2000-22
                                • Figure 12: Misfit Markets Instagram post
                              • USDA pledges funding for farmers transitioning to organic production
                                • Claim ambiguity still muddying consumer confidence in product value
                                  • Figure 13: All natural new product introductions, top claims, 2020-22
                                • Brands must address malignant misinformation problem head-on
                                  • New USDA bioengineered label: enhanced clarity, or added clutter?
                                  • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                                    • PepsiCo’s Pep+ goes all in on better-for-us
                                      • Misfits Market revs up national presence with acquisition, private label launch
                                        • Figure 14: Misfits Market Instagram post
                                      • Blend natural/organic offerings with conventional
                                        • Figure 15: Product type purchase, by product type engagement, 2022
                                      • Indoor farming redefines “farm-to-fork” food sourcing
                                        • Figure 16: Vertically farmed product introductions, 2022
                                      • Online platforms for small, local producers can erase boundaries
                                        • Figure 17: Market Wagon Instagram post
                                        • Figure 18: Instacart Facebook post
                                      • Human health and planetary sustainability: one and the same?
                                        • Creative rescue of “wonky” foods limits unnecessary food waste
                                          • Figure 19: Product releases using upcycled ingredients, 2022
                                      • The Natural and Organic Food Consumer – Fast Facts

                                        • Dynamic needs call for blended product type repertoires
                                          • Affordability is the ultimate barrier to expanded natural and organic engagement
                                            • Environmental impact may be a plus, but it won’t move the needle
                                              • Parents overindex in positive natural and organic behaviors, sentiments
                                              • Product Type Purchase

                                                • Consumers have blended product type purchase repertoires
                                                    • Figure 20: Product type purchase, 2022
                                                    • Figure 21: Product type purchase, by product type purchase, 2022
                                                  • Organic purchase increases with income level; but not natural
                                                    • Figure 22: Product type purchase, by household income, 2022
                                                  • Parents seek quality assurance via natural, organic products
                                                    • Figure 23: Product type purchase, by shopper segmentation, by parental status, 2022
                                                    • Figure 24: Consumer attribute ratings of products with natural or organic claims, by price-conscious natural and organic buyers, parent vs nonparent, 2017-22
                                                • Product Type Purchase by Category

                                                  • “High risk” fresh foods top natural and organic engagement
                                                    • Figure 25: Product type purchase, by food and beverage category, 2022
                                                  • Double down on value communications to deepen lukewarm engagement
                                                    • Figure 26: Any natural/organic purchase, repertoire, 2022
                                                • Changes in Product Purchase

                                                  • Engaged natural/organic consumers will budget for continued purchase
                                                    • Figure 27: Purchase changes compared to a year ago, 2022
                                                  • Price perception is relative to degree of engagement
                                                    • Figure 28: Purchase changes compared to a year ago, by natural/organic product purchase repertoire, 2022
                                                • Organic Product Purchase Motivators

                                                  • Tell consumers what’s in it for them
                                                    • Figure 29: Organic purchase motivators, 2022
                                                    • Figure 30: Eat The Change Facebook post
                                                    • Figure 31: Eat The Change new product introductions, 2021-22
                                                  • Natural and organic brands: clean it up
                                                    • Figure 32: Organic purchase motivators, by natural/organic product purchase repertoire, 2022
                                                  • Lean into identity, value messaging to recruit young adults
                                                    • Figure 33: Organic purchase motivators, by age, 2022
                                                • Barriers to Organic Product Purchase

                                                  • One in two unengaged shoppers say organic is not worth the price
                                                    • Figure 34: Barriers to organic product purchase, 2022
                                                    • Figure 35: Good Gather Organic String Cheese
                                                  • Expand accessible organic options for value seekers
                                                    • Figure 36: Barriers to organic product purchase, by consumer segmentation, 2022
                                                • Opinions on Natural and Organic Products

                                                  • Consumers yearn for affordable natural and organic options, even if they don’t quite trust them
                                                    • Figure 37: Natural and organic products opinions, 2022
                                                    • Figure 38: Natural and organic product opinions, by select responses, 2022
                                                  • Some naysayers may be converted with affordable options
                                                    • Figure 39: Natural and organic products opinions, by consumer segmentation, 2022
                                                  • Guide younger consumers to natural/organic with clearer label knowledge
                                                    • Figure 40: Natural and organic products opinions, by age, 2022
                                                • Attitudes toward Natural and Organic Products

                                                  • Affordability will lower barrier to attention; clarity will convince
                                                    • Figure 41: Natural and organic products attitudes, 2022
                                                    • Figure 42: Bowery product release
                                                  • Younger, higher-earning educated parents are ready for more from brands
                                                    • Figure 43: Key drivers of desire for natural/organic choices, 2022
                                                  • Methodology
                                                    • Lean into lifestyle messaging to set the stage for growth
                                                      • Figure 44: Natural and organic products attitudes, by age, 2022
                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                    • Data sources
                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                            • Appendix – Consumer Segmentation

                                                                  • Figure 45: Natural and organic products attitudes, by consumer segmentation, 2022
                                                              • Appendix – Key Driver Analysis Methodology

                                                                  • Interpretation of results
                                                                    • Figure 46: Key drivers of desire for natural/organic choices – key driver output, 2022

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