January 2012/Prepared Foods -- A study from the Organic Trade Association (OTA) finds some 78% of American families indicate they are choosing organic foods. “In a time when the severity of the economy means making tough choices, it is extremely encouraging to see consumers vote with their values,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s executive director and CEO. “It’s clear that with more than three quarters of U.S. families choosing organic, this has moved way beyond a niche market.”  

Per the OTA’s “2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study,” some four in 10 families say they are buying more organic products than they were a year ago. The “2011 Organic Industry Survey” found the U.S. organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8% in 2010.

What has proven to be the most compelling reason prompting consumers to opt organic? Some 47% of parents surveyed said their strongest motivator for buying organic is a belief that organic products are “healthier for me and my children.”

Some 72% of parents are now familiar with the organic seal (nearly a decade after the federal rules for organic were implemented)—a significant rise from the 65% of familiarity in 2009. Furthermore, the study indicated three in 10 U.S. families are new entrants to the organic marketplace. pf