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Consumers stay loyal to organic food

By Nick Hughes , 04-Sep-2009

US shoppers are staying loyal to organic food even though the majority admit to having changed their cooking and eating habits because of the state of the economy.

Three in four shoppers said they continued to purchase natural and/or organic foods in the same quantities as they always have, according to the results of Whole Foods Market’s annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey, carried out by Harris Interactive.

Although 76 percent of consumers are unwilling to compromise on the quality of the food they buy regardless of price, nearly two thirds (65 percent) said they would like to be able to buy organic and natural foods within their budgets.

“We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners, when buying natural and organic foods,” said A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating office for Whole Foods Market. “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our website.”

Consumers are reevaluating at all areas of their shopping routine to save money. 54 percent said they are using more coupons, 50 percent are more likely to comparison shop and 45 percent are more likely to buy private label brands.

More than half (51 percent) say they now eat dinner at home more often, 37 percent say they budget food shopping trips more strictly and more than one-quarter say they focus on inexpensive pantry staples like beans and whole grains.

The survey found that most adults (79 percent) cook at home with 54 percent saying they do so to save money and 41 percent saying they cook at home to ensure they are eating healthfully.

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