business news in context, analysis with attitude

Whole Foods Market has released its 2004 Organic Foods Trend Tracker survey, suggesting that 27 percent of Americans are eating more organic products than just one year ago, and that 54 percent of Americans have tried organic foods and beverages and nearly one in 10 use organic products regularly or several times per week.

Americans are buying organic products for a variety of reasons, with more than half of respondents saying they believe organic foods are better for the environment (58 percent) and better for their health (54 percent). Additionally, 57 percent believe buying and using organic products are better for supporting small and local farmers. Almost one in three Americans (32 percent) believes organic products taste better, and 42 percent believe organic foods are better quality.

Produce still remains the number one category of organic food purchases, with 68 percent of the respondents who currently choose organic foods seeking fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Survey respondents are seeking other organic foods as well: bread or baked goods (26 percent), non-dairy beverages (26 percent), eggs (26 percent), dairy products (24 percent), packaged goods such as soup or pasta (19 percent), meat (22 percent), frozen foods (18 percent), prepared foods or ready-to-go meals (14 percent) and baby food (7 percent).

The primary barrier to trying organic products is still price; almost three-quarters (73 percent) believe organics are too expensive.

In a related story, Foodservice company Aramark reports that 24 percent of college students it surveyed nationwide said that it was important to them that their cafeterias offer vegan meals that contain no meat, fish, poultry or other products derived from animals such as dairy, eggs or honey; just 18 percent were interested in low-carb food availability.

As a result, the company is phasing in a vegan menu program on college campuses, as well as offering Low Fat, Heart Healthy, Carb Counter, Cal Smart and Vegetarian menu options.
KC's View:
Are we beginning to grow a more enlightened food consumer in the US?

Maybe. It doesn’t mean that the desire or market for fast, processed foods is going to go away…but maybe we’re actually entering a time of greater selection and diversity.

See our next story…