Correlation between higher income and likelihood of purchasing organic is becoming a thing of the past for Canadian organic consumers. Grocery shoppers in the $25,000 to $55,000 income bracket are now just as likely to buy organic as shoppers in the $100,000 plus income bracket, finds a new survey on the organic buying habits of Canadian households by the Canada Organic Trade Association (COTA).
“Grocery shoppers are increasingly conscientious about where their food is coming from and how it effects them and their surroundings, they care about reducing exposures to synthetic chemicals and GMOs, about animal wellbeing and protecting the environment.” said Tia Loftsgard, Executive Director of COTA. “And the research shows they are buying organic regardless of their income levels.”
National consumer research conducted a decade ago found a direct correlation between income and organic purchasing. Those with household incomes of $70,000 or higher showing the highest numbers of organic buyers and the highest spending (Nielson, 2007).
However, research done by COTA in 2012 showed this trend was shifting, suggesting that the consumer base is broadening as all socio-economic classes are buying organic. Today the $55,000 to $100,000 middle-income bracket is now leading the charge with 63% purchasing organic products. The $25,000 to $55,000 income bracket is on par with the $100,000 income bracket showing that 60% and 61% respectively, of households in those brackets are consuming organics.
“What we perceive as organic shoppers is changing,” said Loftsgard. “Our recent research, conducted by IPSOS, not only shows a rise in organic shoppers in middle and lower income levels, but we are also expecting to see dramatic changes in other shopper demographics such as age and gender.”
Organic sales in Canada in 2015 posted a new record, with total organic product sales hitting $4.7 billion, a $1.2 billion increase from 2012. Canada is now the 5th largest organic market in the world exceeded only by United States, Germany, France and China.
The Canada Organic Trade Association is a member-based organization representing the entire organic value-chain. Its mandate is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade in Canada to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.