Organic produce becomes mainstream

(BPT) – The organics category is becoming mainstream, as it is purchased by shoppers across all demographics. Recently, the category grew in just about every measurable way: in volume, dollars spent, and even in conversations in the media.

When consumers dabble in organic produce, they are more likely to purchase organic goods throughout the entire store and outside the store—like organic snacks or organic cotton sheets. This means it is important for retailers that sell organic products across departments to pay attention to trends in organic produce.

The organic shopper

Casual shoppers are the segment adding growth to the organic category, meaning that sometimes they purchase organic produce, and sometimes they purchase conventional.

“Organics are becoming mainstream, and shoppers are beginning to choose organic items over conventional items,” says Michael Castagnetto, vice president of sourcing for Robinson Fresh. “In our survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce, we found that 51 percent of respondents purchased organic produce and of those, 73 percent purchased both conventional and organic produce during the same trip.”

Research indicated that the organic shopper of today is most likely under the age of 35 or has young children living at home. Organic purchases are also highly correlated to household income.

When it comes to tailoring a shopping experience, it’s important to target Millennials because of their enormous commercial force, but consider the preferences of all generations. Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers all show a preference for organic produce as a destination within the store.

Why organic is becoming mainstream

“In the past, purchasing anything organic was an emotional-based purchase,” continues Castagnetto. “However, for today’s casual shopper, organic purchases are increasingly becoming more of an impulse purchase. The way that produce is merchandised makes a difference in how consumers make purchasing decisions.”

How organic produce is purchased

Organic items are an impulse purchase more than 30 percent of the time. Within the organics category, impulse purchases are two times more likely on items that index higher as healthy snacking options—such as berries and grapes. Here are the top 4 factors driving impulse organic purchases:

* The freshness and quality of the produce: 73 percent of respondents ranked this as a top driving factor

* The price of the produce: 61 percent of respondents rank this as a top driving factor

* The packaging the produce comes in

* Whether the organic produce is locally grown

To learn about who is buying organic produce and gain insight into the reasons why those consumers are choosing organic, Robinson Fresh(R) conducted a survey with U.S. consumers who buy produce—both conventional and organic. The full survey results can be found at

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