Although the number of consumers using organics increased from 55% to 73% between 2000 and 2006, there has been no notable change between 2006 and today, according to a survey by The Hartman Group. In fact, the report shows a slight decrease in use from 2006 to this year — from 73% of consumer to 69%.
“There is still a lot of opportunity to be found but food manufacturers now have to be a lot more judicial in where they put their innovation dollars into going organic,” says Shelley Balanko, vp of ethnographic research for The Hartman Group. Consumers are increasingly concerned about hormones and antibiotics in food, she says, which adds to the appeal of items such as organic dairy products.
Organic is now being included among “several symbolic distinctions of equal importance subsumed under the moniker of quality,” the report says. It notes that formerly fringe food categories –and categories that may link by dotted lines to organics, but can also stand on their own — are gaining traction with consumers. These categories include local and artisan products, as well as fair trade, humane, cage free or free range.