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OTA survey: Millennials lead other age groups in organic purchasing, trust


WASHINGTON — A new survey from the Organic Trade Association is highlighting the shopping habits of parents, in particular millennial parents. The survey also found high rates of trust for the organic label among millennial parents.  


The group of 18- to 34-year-olds represents about 52% of the nation’s organic buyers, according to the survey. In contrast, Generation X parents born between 1965 and 1980 made up about 35% of organic buyers and Baby Boomers represented 14% of organic buyers. 


“The millennial consumer and head of household is changing the landscape of our food industry,” Organic Trade Association executive director and CEO Laura Batcha. “Our survey shows that millennial parents seek out organic because they are more aware of the benefits of organic, that they place a greater value on knowing how their food was grown and produced, and that they are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment.”


The survey also found that eight-in-10 households surveyed (82%) said they buy organic sometimes, which is among the highest rate reported in the annual survey, and 49% of all households said they buy more organic foods now than a year ago. Thirty-five percent said that choosing organic products is part of their efforts to live in a way that is environmentally friendly, and more millennials said that an eco-conscious approach informed their organic buying than any other age group. Some 40% of millennials see buying organic as an integral part of green living, compared to 32% of Gen Xers and 28% of Baby Boomers


Millennials also see themselves as knowledgeable about organic food, with 77% saying they’re well-informed or “know quite a bit,” and that knowledge comes with faith in the organic label, with 54% of millennials saying they have confidence in the integrity of the organic label. About 60% of millennial parents said they have a “strong connection” with the label. 


“The millennial shopper puts a high premium on the healthiness and quality of the food they choose for their families,” Batcha said. “This generation has grown up eating organic, and seeing that organic label. It's not surprising that they have a greater knowledge of what it means to be organic, and consequently a greater trust of the organic label.”


According to the OTA’s 2016 industry survey, organic sales in 2015 saw new records, growing 11% from 2014  to $43.3 billion, with organic food sales making up $39.7 billion of that total, also an 11% increase. The non-food organic sales of $3.6 billion were up 13%. In 2015, almost 5% of all food sold in the United States was organic. The gravitation of consumers toward organic food is one part of what Kantar Retail calls the "FLONH effect," and the company predicts that in the next 10 years, 25% to 50% of CPG and retailer innovation will be focused on fresh, local, organic, natural or healthy products. 


The household survey was compiled from an online panel of more than 1,800 households with at least on child under 18 years old, and the target audience was supplemented with members of KIWI Magazine’s  Parents’ Advisory Board. 


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