Organic Products: Organic and similar products show natural momentum

Organic, natural and similar products have gained great momentum in the U.S. marketplace, with natural and organic foods projected to account for almost 14 percent of all food products by 2020.

Retail Leader's exclusive survey confirmed that momentum, with 84 percent of respondents saying they added products belonging to at least one of five such categories in the last year. (See chart for breakdown.) This took place even though the majority of respondents say organic food now stands at only 1 to 5 percent of total sales. Three quarters of respondents say they carry private label organic brands.

Asked to score customers' interest in various categories on a scale of 1 to 10, respondents put "natural foods" highest at 6.77, followed by "locally sourced" at 6.62 and "organic" at 6.38. Of the other major categories–hormone free, humanely raised, sustainable, and ecologically friendly non-food products–only the last, at 5.85, scored below 6.

The "locavore" movement seems to be taking hold, with 61.5 percent of respondents saying they make an effort to sell produce and other foods from local farmers. All of these say they promote these products with in-store signage. Other methods include paper flyer advertising (88.9 percent), special displays (76.2 percent), social media (50.8 percent), online apps or advertising (25.4 percent) and on-site farmers' markets (12.7 percent).

Have you added any products in these categories in the past year?
(Multiple responses permitted)

Organic 81.8%
Locally sourced 63.6%
Hormone-free 54.5%
Humanely raised 45.5%
Sustainably sourced 27.3%

How do you merchandise your organic products?

How would you describe current business conditions?
Where do you expect to see business conditions for the next six months?