A lot of industries and business sectors have taken hard hits during the recession, but apparently organic food consumption isn't one of them.
In fact, three in four shoppers said they've continued purchasing organic foods in the same quantities as they always have despite the economic downturn. At least, that's according to the results of Whole Foods Market's annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey, which was tallied by Harris Interactive.
The poll showed that two in three American adults have changed their cooking and eating habits because of the economy. A slight majority, 51%, are eating at home more often, while 37% are budgeting food shopping trips more carefully.
But while people are tightening their belts in many areas of their lives, the survey showed that 76% are unwilling to compromise on food quality, no matter the price. Most continue to purchase organic foods as before the economy went south, though 65% would like to see those foods' prices come down within their budgets.
"We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners, when buying natural and organic foods," A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, said in a release from the company. "This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our Web site."
Of the adults who said their grocery habits have changed, about half are using more coupons, comparison shopping or are more likely to buy private-label/grocery store brands.
Interestingly, 80% of shoppers think that grocery prices have increased over the last year. However, data from the federal government's Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index release July 2009 showed food-at-home prices had declined for the seventh time in the past eight months.