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Parents willing to pay the premium for organic food, survey shows

Price now less of a barrier to buying organic

Maggie McNeil
(202) 403-8514
Washington , DC
June 18, 2014
) — 

No two ways about it. Organic food usually costs a little more than non-organic. But a new study shows that an increasing number of American parents are willing to dig deeper into their wallets to buy products that carry the organic seal.

The Organic Trade Association’s (OTA’s) U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2014 Tracking Study, a survey of more than 1,200 households with at least one child under 18, found that price has become much less of a barrier to purchasing organic products.

Fifty-one percent of those parents surveyed said the cost of organic products was one of the key factors in limiting their organic purchases, a sharp drop from the previous year in which 62 percent said organic items were sometimes too expensive for their household budget.

“Parents in charge of the household budget recognize the benefits of organic, and are willing to pay a little more to know that they are giving their families the highest quality and most healthy products being offered in their local store,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Director and CEO of OTA.

According to the study, families who include organic products on their grocery list on a regular basis spend an average of $125 a week at the grocery store, compared to $110 a week for those not buying any organic items. However, despite the higher tab, almost half of the parents polled -- 47 percent -- said that half or more of their weekly grocery purchases are organic, while close to 10 percent said they buy only organic.

Organic food products have become more mainstream in recent years as demand for organic products has jumped. No longer just found in niche specialty stores, supermarkets are now the go-to source for 70 percent of households buying organic. Lack of availability of organic products was cited by just 12 percent as a reason for not buying organic, down from last year’s 21 percent who claimed that was a barrier. A tiny percentage of those surveyed—three percent—said that organic products were not available where they shopped.

OTA partnered with KIWI Magazine to conduct the study in late February and early March. The survey takes an in-depth look at the buying patterns of American households, who buys organic products, what products are being purchased, and the reasons behind those decisions.

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the United States, representing over 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.