Wealthier Consumers Keep Buying Organic

High-end consumers are still hungry for costlier organic products, per a recent study from Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group.
The study found that “premium” consumers (single-person households making $75,000-plus or multiple-person homes pulling in $100,000 or more) made similar food product and store choices during the first quarter of the year compared to Q3 2008.

Premium consumers continue to be more likely than other consumers (28 percent versus 25 percent) to look for organic and natural foods at the grocery store. Additionally, those premium consumers reporting being significantly worse off than last year are more likely than those whose income has stayed steady to purchase organic and natural foods, despite the higher cost (33 percent versus 26 percent). This reflects that concerns about health are trumping concerns about cost, according to David Sprinkle, research director for the Market Research Group and author of the report.

“There’s a real connection between what you eat and how healthy you are, and between how healthy you are and healthcare, and even productivity,” said Sprinkle. “It might mean looking good for the next interview. It might mean staying healthy to keep your job . . . I think consumers are lining up those dots.”

But value and convenience remain a concern for premium consumers, and more are shopping at super centers and other warehouse outlets than in years past. Forty-seven percent of premium shoppers are likely to buy their groceries at Wal-Mart, compared with 31.3 percent in 2004; 37 percent buy at wholesale clubs, compared to 35.8 percent in 2004.

“Supercenters have become very good at attracting the shoppers who do their ‘load-up shopping trips,’” said Sprinkle. “The cost saving associated with super centers helps them do that. People are taking fewer shopping trips. They are controlling their shopping more to cut out indulgences and stay focused.”

Groceries spending for upscale consumers remained steady with previous years, with 26.9 percent are still spending $150 or more per week on food. This is slightly above the 26.2 percent spending the same in 2006, though a drop from the 2007 portion, of 32.7 percent.

Nielsen Business Media