UNPA report shows organic and natural products sales surging in Arizona despite state's sizable couch potato segment

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Organic/natural sales surging in Arizona, UNPA report shows

Related tags Natural products Whole foods

Arizona is emerging as a hotbed for sales of organic and natural foods and beverages, dietary supplements and other natural products, according to a new analysis by the United Natural Products Alliance. According to the report, the first of its kind focusing on the state, overall natural products sales are expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2020.

Arizona is surging in population growth, ranking no. 6 on a national scale, with a 2014 population estimated at 6.7 million according to the the US Census Bureau.  The state, which was very hard hit in the 2008-2009 recession and the subsequent bottoming out of the construction industry and of property values,  has lagged national averages in terms of GDP growth.

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the state’s GDP grew by 1.4% in 2014, compared to a national figure of 2.2%.

Sales strong despite economic, demographic headwinds

Despite this, the state is showing strong sales growth in the categories of products studied by UNPA using data generated by the Natural Marketing Institute. And the sales were strong even though the state has a high number of consumers who are not committed to healthy lifestyles, according to NMI’s methodology. 

This is the second such state-focused report the trade organization has done.  The first was conducted on Hawaii, said Frank Lampe, UNPA’s vice president of communications and industry relations.  That report was not quite as complete as the Arizona report, he said, because some background data was lacking, data that was available for Arizona.

The Arizona report gathered data on the sales of all natural products, including organic and natural foods and beverages (broken out into separate organic and natural categories), dietary supplements and natural personal care, household products and pet supplies and supplements. 

The report projected strong growth in the foods and beverage categories, with organic sales projected to grow from $613 million in 2012 to $1.2 billion in 2020. Sales of foods and beverages sailing under the natural banner were projected to grow even faster: $555 million in 2012 to $1.3 billion in 2020. These increases track roughly in line with what NMI is projecting for national figures, which are $29.2 billion/$58.4 billion for organic sales in the same time frame versus $26.5 billion/$60.3 billion for natural.

Sales of dietary supplements in the state are expected to grow, too, but not at the same meteoric rate. NMI figures show that $505 million worth of supplements were sold in the state in 2012, with that projected to to hit $639 million by 2020.

The report contained some surprises, Lampe said. 

“What surprised us was the huge number of retail outlets for these products, and the large overall industry presence in the state,”​ Lampe told NutraIngredients-USA. “What also surprised us was the way in which 35% of the population accounted for 55% percent of sales.”

Population breakdown

What Lampe was referring to was the way NMI slices up the consumer landscape, using a methodology it has applied to other marketing studies.  NMI categorizes consumers as Well Beings, Food Actives, Magic Bullets, Fence Sitters and Eat, Drink & Be Merrys, categories that roughly translate to a spectrum ranging from an intense commitment to eating healthy and purchasing natural products to a group has little or no commitment to these values. 

According to NMI’s measurements, the Well Beings and Fence Sitters segments were underrepresented in Arizona versus national averages, and accounted for only 35% of the state’s population, yet they accounted for more than half of natural product sales.  By contrast, the Eat, Drink & Be Merrys segment was highly overrepresented in Arizona versus national averages, accounting for 29% of the population.  This segment makes up 22% of the population on a national level, according to NMI’s statistics.

The report is part of UNPA’s ongoing strategy to demonstrate the importance of the natural products industry in certain key states where the industry forms a significant part of the local economy.  Putting those facts before the congressional delegations of those states can serve to bolster political support for the industry on the national level, the organization believes.

“The natural health products industry is a dynamic, robust and maturing segment, and is a significant employer and producer of goods and services in Arizona,”​ said Loren Israelsen, president of UNPA.

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