Healthful eating is a way of life for many shoppers, and organics are easily finding their way into the mix, particularly for younger shoppers.

Of the total organic fruit and vegetable sales in 2017 — $16.5 billion — 90% came from fresh produce sales, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2018 Organic Industry Survey.

“Produce is a key entry point into organic, especially for young families and millennials,” according to the survey’s executive summary. In consumers’ minds, “fresh” translates to “healthy,” which is great news for fresh fruit and vegetable marketers.

Whether it’s a boost in nutrition or a lack of chemicals shoppers are looking for, organics seem to deliver.

In 2017, organic vegetables had a dollar sales growth of about 5.5%, and organic fruit sales increased 19.6% over the same period, according to consumer data provider Statistica.

Tracking the trends

Age was the No. 1 demographic factor that affected organic produce purchases over the past year, according to Organic Fresh Trends 2019. For nearly every item studied, shoppers age 50 and older were much less likely to buy organic than younger consumers (whether they were exclusive organic buyers or just periodic organic buyers).

Ethnicity, or groupings by genetic and cultural background, affected organic purchases as well.

While the results varied depending on the commodities, Asian consumers, Hispanic shoppers, and those who comprised the “all other” ethnic group were more likely to buy organic fruits and vegetables overall compared to those from other backgrounds, Organic Fresh Trends 2019 data shows.

Family structure was also important when looking at organic sales. Without fail, families with children living in the home were more likely to buy organic produce than those without kids, often significantly so.

It’s possible that this trend is due, in part, to the increased cost of organics. It’s also possible that with children out of the house, empty-nester or single consumers aren’t as conscientious about buying organics as they are when there are small bodies to nourish in the household.

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