What you need to know

The biggest selling point for organics is the perception that the products are healthier, much more so than any environmental or ethical reason. However, consumers appear confused about the benefits of organics versus products labeled as natural, suggesting manufacturers have failed to communicate organic benefits to potential (for that matter, to current) consumers. Organic brands will need to address consumers in a more open and transparent way to maintain credibility in this confusing market.


This report provides analysis and insights into the attitudes, perceptions, issues, and behaviors of those who purchase and consume organic foods and beverages, realizing that the shopper may be purchasing the products for others in their family.

Value figures throughout this report are at rsp (retail selling prices) excluding sales tax unless otherwise stated.

Data sources

Sales data

  • Market Performance: Total retail sales based on SPINS; Information Resources, Inc. InfoScan Reviews; US Census Bureau, Economic Census; Mintel

Consumer survey data

For the purposes of this report, Mintel commissioned exclusive consumer research through Lightspeed GMI to explore consumer consumption of/attitudes and behaviors toward organic foods and beverages. Mintel was responsible for the survey design, data analysis, and reporting. Fieldwork was conducted in December 2014 among a sample of 2,002 adults aged 18+ with access to the internet.

Mintel selects survey respondents by gender, age, household income, and region so that they are proportionally representative of the US adult population using the internet. Mintel also slightly over-samples, relative to the population, respondents that are Hispanic or Black to ensure an adequate representation of these groups in our survey results and to allow for more precise parameter estimates from our reported findings. Please note that Mintel surveys are conducted online and in English only. Hispanics who are not online and/or do not speak English are not included in the survey results.

Mintel has also analyzed data from Experian Marketing Services, using the Simmons NCS (National Consumer Study), the Simmons NHCS (National Hispanic Consumer Study), the Simmons NCS Teen Study, and the Simmons NCS Kids Study.

The Experian Marketing Services, Simmons NCS/NHCS was carried out during July 2008-September 2014 and the results are based on the sample of 26,053 adults aged 18+, with results weighted to represent the US adult population. The Experian Marketing Services, Simmons NCS Teen Study was conducted during April 2008-June 2014 and based on a sample of 1,692 teenagers aged 12-17, with results weighted to represent the US teen population. The Experian Marketing Services, Simmons NCS Kids Study was conducted during April 2008-June 2014 and based on a sample of 1,975 kids aged 6-11, with results weighted to represent the US kid population.

While race and Hispanic origin are separate demographic characteristics, Mintel often compares them to each other. Please note that the responses for race (White, Black, Asian, Native American, or other race) will overlap those that also are Hispanic, because Hispanics can be of any race.

Abbreviations and terms


The following is a list of abbreviations used in this report.

BFY Better-for-you
CPI Consumer Price Index
GMO Genetically modified organism
GNPD Global New Products Database
MULO Multi Outlet, representative of the following channels: total US Grocery, Mass, total US Drug, total Walmart, Dollar, Military, and Club
NCS/NHCS National Consumer Study/National Hispanic Consumer Study (Experian Marketing Services)
OTA Organic Trade Association
rsp Retail selling price

Generations are discussed within this report, and they are defined as:

World War II/Swing generations Members of the WWII generation were born in 1932 or before and are aged 83 or older in 2015. Members of the Swing Generation were born from 1933-1945 and are aged 70-82 in 2015.
Baby Boomers The generation born between 1946 and 1964. In 2015, Baby Boomers are between the ages of 51 and 69.
Generation X The generation born between 1965 and 1976. In 2015, Gen Xers are between the ages of 39 and 50.
Millennials* Born between 1977 and 1994, Millennials are aged 21-38 in 2015.
iGeneration Born between 1995 and 2007, members of iGen are aged 8-20 in 2015.
Emerging generation The newest generation began in 2008 as the annual number of births declined sharply with the recession. In 2015 members of this as-yet-unnamed generation are under age 8.

* also known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers

In order to provide an inflation-adjusted price value for markets, Mintel uses the CPI to deflate current prices. The CPI is defined as follows:

CPI The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

The CPI and its components are typically used to adjust other economic series for price changes and to translate these series into inflation-free dollars. Examples of series adjusted by the CPI include retail sales, hourly and weekly earnings, and components of the national income and product accounts. In addition, and in Mintel reports, the CPI is used as a deflator of the value of the consumer’s dollar to find its purchasing power. The purchasing power of the consumer’s dollar measures the change in the value to the consumer of goods and services that a dollar will buy at different dates.

The CPI is generally the best measure for adjusting payments to consumers when the intent is to allow consumers to purchase, at today’s prices, a market basket of goods and services equivalent to one that they could purchase in an earlier period. It is also the best measure to use to translate retail sales into real or inflation-free dollars.

Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics definition.

Back to top