New Hartman Group Study Reveals that Three-Fourths of the U.S. Population Now Buys Organic Products, Up from 55% in 2000

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The Hartman Group report, "Organic2006," provides rich insights into the lifestyle, shopping, purchase and usage habits driving the organic frenzy in today's marketplace and finds that as organic products have become more available and accessible, consumers have responded in kind, almost three-quarters of the U.S. population buy organic products at least occasionally.

Organics is hot. From Ahold to Wal-Mart, and seemingly everyone in between, companies are scrambling to introduce more and more organic products into specialty and mass market retail channels. In a new report released today by The Hartman Group, an updated spotlight highlights the consumer attitudes and behaviors heating the organic firebrand.

The report, “Organics 2006: Consumer Attitudes & Behavior, Five Years Later & Into the Future,” provides rich insights into the lifestyle, shopping, purchase and usage habits driving the organic frenzy in today’s marketplace and finds that as organic products have become more available and accessible, consumers have responded in kind – almost three-quarters of the U.S. population buy organic products at least occasionally. At the core of the market, 23 percent of U.S. consumers buy organic products on a regular (at least weekly) basis.

Organics has overtaken “natural” as a buzzword for mainstream consumers interested in higher quality food experiences from the dual perspective of health and gourmet eating. “Organics stands at the heart of many American’s food aspirations, even those who rarely purchase organics,” said Laurie Demeritt, President & COO, The Hartman Group.

The Organics 2006 report is a comprehensive analysis of the demographics, channels and adoption pathways of organic products consumption.

Additional findings include:

Channels: Compared to five years ago, consumers are much more likely to use natural food stores to purchase organic foods and beverages: 29% were doing so in 2000, while nearly half (49%) are doing so today. Furthermore, while using grocery stores for organic purchases has fallen somewhat (from 63% of consumers in 2000 to 58% in 2005), using supercenter/discount stores for organics has increased (from 9% to 15%).

Demographics: Compared to the general population, two ethnic and racial groups are somewhat more likely to purchase organics: Asian Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans. Latino/Hispanic Americans and African Americans are much more likely than Caucasians to be what The Hartman Group terms "Core Organic Consumers," those most involved in the organics world.

Emerging usage theme: In both quantitative and qualitative research, one of the strongest concerns expressed by consumers compared to five years ago is the impact of additional hormones in food products and their effect on children’s health.

“Organic has less relevance for consumers when one moves into the center store and into categories that are inherently processed to a larger degree with numerous ingredients,” said Michelle Barry, The Hartman Group’s Senior Vice President of Consumer Insights & Trends. “The exceptions here are categories frequently eaten by children, where the value of organic is significant to the parent.”

About The Hartman Group

The Hartman Group, Inc., founded 1989, is a full-service consulting and market research firm offering a wide range of services and products specializing on the health and wellness markets. The company's headquarters are located in Bellevue, Washington.

Additional information about the Organics 2006 report, how health and wellness is redefining consumer lifestyles and The Hartman Group’s consumer insight work can be found at The Hartman Group website – http://www.hartman-group.com.

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Blaine Becker
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