Survey signals new wave of organic consumers on the horizon
Millennials are big buyers of organic, and that becoming a parent only deepens the strong affinity for organic shared by this powerful generation.
Twenty-five percent of the Millennials in America are parents, and in the next 10-15 years, 80% of Millennials will be moms and dads. What this means for the organic market could be transformative.
That’s because a new survey released by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), Washington, D.C., on the organic attitude of U.S. families shows that Millennials are big buyers of organic, and that becoming a parent only deepens the strong affinity for organic shared by this powerful generation.
“Millennials are the largest consumer group in the United States, and they’re choosing organic. As more members of this generation become parents, their presence in the organic market will just get stronger,” says Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO. “This year’s survey findings clearly show the positive relationship between organic and parenting. Exciting times lie ahead for the organic sector. Over the next 10 years, we’ll see a surge of new organic eaters and consumers -- the Millennial parents of tomorow and their children.”
For the first time in the 8-year history of the survey, the “2017 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Behaviors Study” included households without children. Last year’s survey studied generational buying habits of U.S. households, and found that Millennial parents – parents in the 18- to 35-year-old age range -- are now the biggest group of organic buyers in America. This year’s study goes even deeper and looks at the organic attitudes and buying habits of today’s Millennial without children.
The study segmented the population in three household composition categories: (1) Millennials without children, (2) Millennials with children and (3) Parents aged 36-64 years.
The connection between organic and parenting
The survey shows that the heavy buyer of organic – the consumer who always or most of the time chooses organic -- is driven by a strong belief that selecting organic for their family makes them a better parent. That buyer is actively seeking out healthy, nutritious choices for themselves and their children – that’s the No. 1 motivator for this group when choosing food, followed by the product being organic.
Concerns about the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on an individual’s health and the health of that individual’s children, along with the desire to avoid highly processed foods and artificial ingredients for the family were also top reasons to buy organic.
Baby food ranked as the top category for which respondents said that buying organic is extremely important, surpassing the fruits and vegetables category for the first time in the history of the survey. Food targeted to kids was also among the categories most important for buying organic.
Heavy buyers of organic – whether Millennials with or without children -- are more likely to have been raised eating organic foods and being taught to make organic choices. Today’s organic buyers with children are already passing their organic habits on to the next generation, and so will the Millennial parents-to-be.
Online and meal kits
Today’s organic buyers are younger, and digital technology is an integral part of their daily lives.
More Millennials shop for groceries online than older parents (40% vs. 30%). Online grocery shopping is still in its early stages, but the survey revealed that attitudes regarding online grocery shopping point to a bright future for organic. Twenty percent of those surveyed said they like the quality of organic produce purchased online, 17% said online grocery shopping is a convenient and easy way to shop organic and 10% reported an increase in organic purchases because of online shopping. This all suggests that online shopping has strong potential for increasing organic consumption among U.S. families.
Millennial parents use digital sources of information to learn about new products – online product reviews, blog posts and mobile apps -- more frequently than older parents who prefer traditional information sources like commercials, coupons and recommendations from friends. The Millennial device of choice is the smartphone vs. other mobile or desktop computer devices.
As with online grocery shopping, Millennial parents are more likely to purchase or use online meal kits than older parents (37% vs. 27%). And, while all groups liked the idea of getting meal kits as a gift, the Millinnial without kids was the most enthusiastic about that concept.
“Americans are eating more organic than ever before. Organic sales reached nearly $50 billion last year, driven in large part by the Millennial consumer,” says Batcha. “Millennials having children over the next 10-15 years are projected to be a generation of highly engaged organic consumers. Our continually expanding knowledge about Millennials will help us inform this important generation of consumers and give these future parents the necessary tools to enable them to make the best choices for their families.”
OTA partnered with KIWI Magazine to conduct surveys of the organic buying patterns of households. The study reflects responses of more than 1,800 households throughout the country consisting of individuals between the ages of 18-64 years old. Responses were collected online between May 22, 2017 and June 7, 2017.