Health and eco-minded consumers are looking beyond natural labels to organic, non-GMO and grass-fed label claims, according to the 2016 Market LOHAS MamboTrack consumer research survey, produced by Market Dynamics-Market LOHAS, Acton, Mass.

The annual study found that eight in 10 health-conscious consumers want to see a natural product certification similar to the USDA organic seal. This year, only about one in three said all-natural was a key purchase factor, followed by “brands that I trust” at (46%).

"Savvy health-aware consumers are skeptical about the natural label and are looking for known ingredient certifications like USDA organic and non-GMO. They're also relying on trusted brands," says Karen Herther and Bethany Stanley, principals of Market LOHAS (Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability), who directed the MamboTrack Research.

The study found that shoppers are reading ingredient labels, seeking non-GMO and organic certifications along with other health and nutrition indicators. Products free from antibiotics, pesticides and added sweeteners topped the list of shopper concerns for 2016, along with food safety and contamination.

Other findings include:

  • Healthy consumers are eating more vegetarian/plant-based food products, with half planning to buy more in 2016. Over seven in 10 are aware of the Meatless Monday health campaign.
  • Three in four are buying grass-fed meat or dairy products.
  • Only one in four believe that local sourcing is more important than organic.
  • Most regularly buy both natural/organic and conventional health and beauty items.
  • A majority of health and eco consumers report taking “green actions,” with three in four or more using reusable water bottles, utilizing fewer plastic H2O disposables and buying eco cleaning products.

Healthy consumers are shopping for natural and organic foods at both natural and mainstream retailers from supermarkets to local health food stores, including Whole Foods, Target and online retailers. About three in four value-minded consumers reported steady or increasing coupon usage.

The 2016 Market LOHAS MamboTrack Natural and Organic Consumer Survey surveyed 1,000 “real” health-conscious shopper panelists in December 2015.