Organic and natural food sales have grown steadily over the past few years, but that might be coming to an end due to the state of the economy, according to the New York Times.
Though items such as grass-fed beef and organic baby food have in recent years garnered much attention, the Times article suggests that when economic times are tough, consumers might not care so much what the cow ate before it became a burger, or what was sprayed on those carrots before they became a side dish especially if there is a large price difference.
The article says that there is a core group of customers who will always prioritize organic. But the growth over the last decade, which has been 20 percent a year in recent years, was driven by less committed customers. The weak economy is forcing those shoppers to reconsider their choices.
Laurie Demeritt, the president and chief operating officer of the Hartman Group, suggests in the article that children's products will likely continue to sell, since parents are concerned about health. But others processed snack foods for adults, for example might not do as well.
Demeritt is quoted in the article: The economy has "crystallized the tradeoffs that consumers are willing to make. Fair trade is nice, but fair trade may fall off the shopping list where organic milk may not."
The article quotes consumers from around the country, some who said they were spending as much or more at the grocery store, but have cut back on eating out. Others haven't changed their organic habits but are shopping around at numerous stores for better deals.
And of course some say they have had to cut back on organics to save money. One stay-at-home mom from Florida said that she's had to curb organic milk, cheese and produce purchases. "Im a stay-at-home mom and my husband you never know if hes going to be laid off. I cant justify spending $2 or $3 more for a single item."
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