America’s 75 million Millennials are devouring organic and making sure their families are too. Parents in the 18 to 34-year-old age range are now the biggest group of organic buyers in America, helped by their growing awareness and trust of the organic label.
The new survey on the organic buying habits of American households released by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) in late September, found that among US parents, more than five in 10 (52 percent) organic buyers are Millennials. And this influential and progressive generation are stocking their shopping carts with organic on a regular basis.
“Our survey shows that Millennial parents seek out organic because they are more aware of the benefits of organic, that they place a greater value on knowing how their food was grown and produced, and that they are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association.
The survey looked at Millennials (born between 1981-1997, currently age 18-34 years), Generation-X (born between 1965-1980, currently 35-50 years old), and Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964 and currently 51-69 years old).
Compared to Millennials who account for 52 percent of organic buyers, Generation X parents made up 35 percent of parents choosing organic, and Baby Boomers just 14 percent.
OTA’s U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs 2016 Tracking Study, a survey of more than 1,800 households throughout the country with at least one child under 18, found that more than eight in ten (82 percent) U.S. families say they buy organic sometimes. It is one of the highest levels in the survey’s seven-year lifetime. The number of families never buying organic has steadily decreased, going from almost 30 percent in 2009 to just 18 percent today.
While 35 percent of all households surveyed said that choosing organic products is a vital part of their effort to live in an environmentally friendly way, a greater percentage of Millennials said buying organic is an essential eco-conscious habit than any other generational group. For 40 percent of Millennials, choosing organic is an integral part of the living green, versus 32 percent of Generation Xers and 28 percent of Baby Boomers.
And forty-nine percent of all households surveyed said they are buying more organic foods today than a year ago. Knowledge about organic is also growing across the generational spectrum of parents, but Millennials are likely to view themselves as very knowledgeable about organic products, with nearly 8 in 10 (77 percent) reporting that they are “well informed” (34 percent) or “know quite a bit” (44 percent).
Parents’ trust in organic labeling is the strongest and highest among Millennials, with 54 percent saying they have confidence in the integrity of the organic label. Almost 60 percent of Millennial parents claim to have a “strong connection” with the label and feel the organic label is an important part of how they shop for food.
US organic sales in 2015 posted new records, with total organic product sales hitting a new benchmark of $43.3 billion, up 11 percent from the previous year’s record level and outstripping overall food market growth of 3 percent, per OTA’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey. Of total organic sales, $39.7 billion were organic food sales, up 11 percent from the previous year, with non-food organic products accounting for $3.6 billion, up 13 percent. Nearly 5 percent of all the food sold in the US in 2015 was organic.