Wednesday May 8, 2013
Organic Trade Association's (OTA's) newly released 2013 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study, shows that more parents than ever are buying organic. While parents purchasing organics is nothing new, this new report shows that a whopping eight in ten parents are now shopping organically, at least some of the time, making them a key organic shopper demographic.
Christine Bushway, OTA's CEO and Executive Director, notes, "More and more parents choose organic foods primarily because of their desire to provide healthful options for their children." Some key points in the new report include:
- A majority of customers who buy organic foods are purchasing more items than a year ago.
- New organic shoppers now represent 41% of all families, so interest in organic food is still on the rise.
- Produce is still in the lead when it comes to organic purchases. A full 97% of organic shoppers say they have purchased organic fruits or vegetables in the past six months.
- Breads and grains, dairy and packaged foods are also top purchases for organic families.
- Families who buy organic spend more per shopping trip than other families.
As in past studies, almost half of all families who buy organic say they do because they feel organics are healthier for the whole family. Parents also want to avoid pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and GMOs.
The 2013 U.S. Families' Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study is available for purchase at OTA.
Tuesday May 7, 2013
Natural Foods Merchandiser has a cool new blog series called Secret Shopper. Each month, a NFM secret shopper goes incognito into a natural products store with a question and then they see how the store answers. Then NFM offers tips about what happened, which can help you improve your customer service.
This week, the secret shopper asked, "How is organic better for the environment?" The store clerk gave some good answers, thus doing well when it came to answering the question. The clerk told the shopper specific facts about how pesticides do harm to the environment but didn't really push the other benefits of organics. The NFM team also felt the clerk should have specified "synthetic" pesticides, as some natural pesticides are approved for organic production.
This is a great series for retailers, but also useful for anyone who has to discuss the organic industry with customers.
Go read the whole post to see how the clerk answered and what NFM thought: NFM Secret Shopper: How is organic better for the environment?
Tuesday April 30, 2013
Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA) reports that Canada's organic market grew to $3.7 billion in 2012 (wow), with national sales of certified organic food and non-alcoholic beverages reaching $3 billion.
This is a big deal. To put it into perspective, consider that U.S. sales of organic food and beverages averaged about $26.7 billion in 2010, so $3.7 billion is nothing to sneeze at. According to COTA, Canadian organic food market value has tripled since 2006. It's estimated that a diverse consumer base is driving industry growth and a full 58% of Canadians buy organic products every single week. Seriously, wow. This might be a good time for U.S. organic businesses to take advantage of the US-Canada Organic Equivalence Arrangement (US-COEA).
Matthew Holmes, Executive Director of the Canada Organic Trade Association, notes, "At the industry's urging, the government implemented strict national standards and label requirements in 2009 to uphold consumer confidence in organic claims, so it's tremendously gratifying to see this result in such strong market growth and continued consumer commitment to organic."
The full BC report and national highlights are available at www.ota-canada.ca.
Tuesday April 30, 2013
Commingling prevention is an important part of your organic business and should be a key part of your organic system plan as well.
If you're a brand new organic certification applicant, failing to control commingling and contamination may cost you your certification. As an already certified organic business, a commingling violation may cost you a fine or may mean that you can't sell some of your products.
In any case, to avoid problems with NOP and to uphold organic integrity, it's smart to have some commingling prevention tactics in place. See some ideas in the links below: