New Acosta Research Dissects the Profiles of Today’s Natural and Organic Shoppers

Nearly 73% of Millennials Spend Time Researching and Educating
Themselves About Natural/Organic Products

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In recent years, the natural and organics category has seen significant
growth, but the profiles and motives of today’s natural/organics
shoppers are drastically different than they were less than a decade
ago. The latest Hot Topic Report, Back
to Our Roots: The Rise of the Natural/Organic Shopper
from Acosta
— a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer
packaged goods (CPG) industry — explores modern-day natural/organic
shoppers, including what they’re buying and from where, why they
purchase these foods, and how they get information about the products’
ingredients and processes.

“Not so long ago, shoppers interested in natural and organic food had to
seek out specialty stores to find the items they wanted,” said Colin
Stewart, Senior Vice President at Acosta. “Now, not only has the growing
popularity of non- or minimally processed food fed the rise of major
specialty retailers, it is also transforming product development and
grocery retail across various channels as the profiles of natural and
organic shoppers evolve.”

Acosta’s Back to Our Roots: The Rise of the Organic Shopper report
takes an in-depth look at these shopper profiles, highlighting:

Who are natural/organic shoppers?

It’s not surprising that Millennials are helping to drive the
natural/organic trend, but GenXers and families also play a large role.

  • Millennials purchase natural/organic food most frequently, with on
    average 60 percent of their food baskets containing half or more
    natural/organic products.
  • GenXers are second to Millennials with 34 percent of their purchases
    consisting of natural/organic products.
  • Of shoppers with baskets that contain 50 percent or more
    natural/organic items, 64 percent have children, compared to only 36
    percent for households with no children.

What are natural/organic shoppers buying?

Shoppers are seeking natural/organic products in categories with an
increased penetration rate, including dairy, cereal/oatmeal, snacks,
pasta/grains and soup.

  • “Must have” natural/organic items for families that are heavy
    purchasers of these items include produce (60%), dairy (50%), juice
    (47%), meat (46%) and snacks (44%).
  • Natural/organic health and beauty care items and condiments are “must
    haves” for only 33 percent of families that are heavy purchasers of
    natural/organic items.
  • Beyond their interest in natural/organic products, more than 70
    percent of Millennials are willing to spend more on products like
    juices, oils and nut butters, demonstrating how the category can
    impact center store sales.

Where do natural/organic shoppers shop?

Each generation of natural/organic shoppers has its own preference of
where to shop for these items.

  • Silents (55%), Boomers (54%) and GenXers (42%) most frequently shop
    for natural/organic products at traditional grocery stores, primarily
    due to the convenience factor.
  • Approximately 20 percent of Millennials shop for natural/organic
    products at traditional grocery stores, too, but nearly 30 percent
    gravitate to the value channel for better pricing, product variety and
  • Thirty percent of shoppers with families purchase natural/organic
    products most often in the value channel, seeking lower price points.

Why are shoppers choosing or not choosing natural/organic products?

There are several factors that influence natural/organic shoppers’
decisions to buy these products, but also several barriers that inhibit

  • The three key triggers motivating shoppers to fill their carts with
    natural/organic products include avoiding chemicals found in
    traditional food; a perceived improvement in food quality; and overall
    family health.
  • For traditional retailer shoppers (74%), mass retailer shoppers (63%)
    and natural retailer shoppers (61%), price is the biggest barrier to
    purchasing natural/organic items.
  • For 19 percent of natural retailer shoppers, there are no barriers for
    purchasing natural/organic products.

How are shoppers learning about the natural/organic products they buy?

While price is a primary barrier for natural/organic shoppers, the
runner-up across channels is “conflicting information or studies about
products,” as shoppers are confused about exactly what is good for them.

  • Fifty-six to 63 percent of natural/organic shoppers report they read
    labels for product information.
  • The top three sources of product information for natural/organic
    shoppers are product packaging, in-store signage and internet searches.
  • Nearly 73 percent of Millennials claim spending time researching while
    in the midst of a spending decision.

“Motivated by a desire for better health and transparency, natural and
organic shoppers are a powerful force that retailers and brand marketers
must study and speak to carefully,” Stewart continued. “This category is
one of the most important sales and marketing opportunities in retail
grocery today, and all indications are strong growth will continue well
into the future.”

Back to Our Roots: The Rise of the Natural/Organic Shopper was
completed using research conducted by Acosta, as well as the company’s
experience working with the nation’s largest CPG manufacturers and
retailers. To access the full report, visit

About Acosta

is the sales and marketing powerhouse behind most of the trusted brands
seen in stores every day. The company provides a range of outsourced
sales, marketing and retail merchandising services throughout the U.S.
and Canada. For 90 years, Acosta has led the industry in helping
consumer packaged goods companies move products off shelves and into
shoppers’ baskets. For more information, please visit


Vault Communications
Allie Artur, 610-455-2760