Lawmakers on Capitol Hill may be fighting over the standards of the lunches being served to American children in schools, but in households across the nation, parents are in growing agreement that organic food is the most healthy choice for the meals they are in charge of, shows a new study by the Organic Trade Association (OTA).
OTA’s U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs 2014 Tracking Study, a survey of more than 1,200 households in the United States with at least one child under 18, found that eight out of 10 American families have bought organic products one or more times in the past two years. In nearly half of those families, concern about their children’s health is a driving force behind that decision, OTA officials add.
“My children influence my purchase of organic food, because I want them to be as healthy as they can be,” commented one of the parents who participated in the survey.
“I am responsible for providing my children with all their food since they cannot buy it. I choose healthy and organic foods and they enjoy whatever I give to them. Win-win!” said another parent.
Ninety percent of parents reported that they choose organic food products for their children at least “sometimes,” with almost a quarter of those parents saying they always buy organic.
Moms and dads purchasing baby food are even more committed to organic, the study found; more than a third of those parents say they always choose organic for their infant or toddler. Meanwhile, 74% of daycares throughout the country now offer organic options for the children they serve.
“Choosing organic foods is increasingly a large part of how families are trying to take better care of themselves and the planet,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of OTA. “The proportion of families who say they never buy organic food has been on a steady decline for the past five years, and those who are choosing organic are buying more.”
OTA partnered with KIWI Magazine on the study, which was conducted in late February and early March.
The proportion of parents who reported that they never buy any organic products fell to 19%, a significant decline from just five years ago when almost 30% of households surveyed said that organic was never a choice.
The findings are in line with the OTA’s annual industry survey released earlier this year which showed that organic sales in the United States in 2013 jumped to $35.1 billion, a new record. OTA expects the upward trend to continue, pegging organic sales during 2014 to increase by 12% or more.
OTA’s consumer survey takes an in-depth look at the buying patterns of American households, who buys organic products, what products are being bought, the reasons behind those decisions, and the purchase patterns of the organic consumer.