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Health on the Minds of Consumers for 2010

Posted: November 30, 2009

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Most (59%) expect to buy more organics in the coming year, but cost-conscious consumers are also seeking ways to make organics more affordable by shopping sales (53%) and using coupons (51%). However, when the choice comes down to buying local or buying organic, consumers are torn. One in three were not sure (28%) what they would choose. Four in ten would opt for local/non-organic (40%), while 1 in 3 would definitely choose organic (32%). Highlighting the importance of locally sourced food, consumers are shifting natural and organic dollars away from local gourmet markets (16%) and discount stores (15%) in favor of farmer’s markets (52%) and local food co-ops (43%).

Coupon usage is high among natural and organic consumers with virtually all (99%) using grocery coupons regularly (77%) or sometimes (18%). Seven in ten consumers indicated that grocery coupons influence their brand-buying decisions and use coupons when planning their grocery list. Another 2 in 3 are paying more attention to grocery coupons than in the past and actively seek out grocery coupons online using Internet search engines.

Most (9 in 10) consumers are using a variety of coupon types ranging from in-store coupons (96%), coupons by mail (93%), online printable coupons (90%), to magazine coupons (90%). About 6 in 10 (59%) use coupons added to their store frequent-shopper cards, but a slightly higher share (64%) were in interested in these retail shopper coupons. Only 1 in 10 (11%) presently use cell phone/mobile coupons, and fewer than 1 in 6 (17%) were interested in receiving these mobile technology coupons in the future.

Consumers rated produce (69%) as the category most important to purchase organic. Other organic purchasing priorities include milk (54%), meat and poultry (54%), children’s food (53%), cheese and eggs (50%). Respondents were least likely to identify beer and wine, (7%), desserts and snacks (21%) and pet products (23%) as very important to buy organic.

Notably, most survey respondents had already adopted basic “green” habits, including recycling (82%), and using energy saving light bulbs (75%), environmentally friendly cleaning products (61%), and energy efficient appliances (52%). Apart from energy-efficient light bulbs, those same tools ranked highest in green priority for 2010 along with eco-clothing and “green” restaurants.