Natural And Organic Purchases Hold Steady Despite Rising Costs

Sept. 16, 2011

Rising food costs haven't curbed Americans' appetite for natural and organic foods, according to results of the latest Annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker Survey. The poll, conducted online in August 2011 by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Whole Foods Market Inc., found that of 2,112 adults surveyed, nearly three out of four (74 percent) wouldn't compromise on the quality of the food they buy. 

Seventy-two percent of Americans surveyed said they would continue to buy the same amount of natural and/or organic foods as they always have, and 24 percent of respondents said natural and/or organic foods would make up more than a quarter of their total household food purchases this year. Notably, 82 percent of survey respondents said current food prices have affected their grocery shopping, and more than 75 percent said they have changed their cooking and eating habits due to the economy, with 57 percent reporting that they eat dinner at home and eat out less often. 

Additionally, 70 percent of shoppers said they would like to find ways to be able to buy natural and organic foods within their budget, and 71 percent said they would buy natural and/or organic foods over conventional foods if prices are comparable. The survey also found that 32 percent of shoppers rely on inexpensive pantry items like beans and whole grains when building meals. Whole Foods Market has made it a priority to offer natural and organic staples at everyday low prices with its expanded bulk offerings, more than 2,000 365® and 365 Organic Everyday Value® lines, and promotions like today's Living Social gift card offering: a $20 Whole Foods Market gift card for $10.

"This latest poll confirms consumers are still seeking out high quality organic and natural products but are shopping in ways that help them to save money," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market in a prepared statement. "With demand holding steady for natural and organic food, we are delivering on our promise of offering the highest quality foods at competitive prices. We invite shoppers to come check out our specials, coupons and our always-affordable 365 private label products."

Whole Foods Market today released findings from a recent competitive pricing study showing that a basket of popular grocery items costs $5.38 less at Whole Foods Market than at other national supermarket chains. The average total price for the everyday items at Whole Foods Market stores was $36.03, compared to the competitors' average of $41.41. Whole Foods Market looked at non-sale prices for several popular items including eggs, romaine lettuce, soymilk, yogurt, peanut butter, pasta sauce, frozen fruit, among other everyday pantry items at its stores in Seattle, Wash.; San Francisco, Calif.; Fairfax, Va. and Atlanta, Ga. and then compared them with the same products at other leading supermarkets in those same cities.

"We're showing that Whole Foods Market offers a whole lot of savings when comparing the same items elsewhere," Robb said. "At a time when food keeps going up, we're working very closely with our supplier partners and putting our product mix under scrutiny to keep prices at bay."