Organic consumer base ‘holds steady’, claim market researchers

According to analytical research from TABS Group (, the percentage of US consumers buying organic products has remained steady at 38-39% for 3 years running.

The market research organisation conducted a survey of 1,000 people aged 18-75 in its online panel in early January 2011, replicating an earlier poll conducted in November 2008. Its results show the percentage of consumers buying organic products stood at 38.4% in 2008, 38% in 2009, and 38.6% in 2010, and claims that other research indicating a growing US organic sector could be incorrect.

“We still see many fallacious reports that the number of consumers purchasing organic products is growing; our research does not support that conclusion,” said TABS Group president and founder Kurt Jetta.

A recent study from RNCOS (, for example, found that the organic food industry grew by 5.1% in 2009, despite the struggling economy; and Organic Monitor ( has reported sales growth of just under 5% for the organic sector during the recession, following double-digit growth for several years previously.

“When we see a consistent penetration over 3 years combined with the fact that adding more categories does not increase that penetration, we conclude that there is a well-entrenched consumer base for organics,” said the TABS Group president.

“There is little hope of increasing that base any time soon. Any growth in organics from one outlet must, therefore, necessarily come at the expense of another channel.”