5 Organic Food Industry Trends You Need to Know

2016-9-29-50-of-millennial-buy-organic-2Most know without reading a single word of research that the organic food movement is growing. Organic products are throughout most grocery stores and making major inroads in wholesale clubs (Read: Costco sells more organic food than Whole Foods) and convenience stores. Organic beauty products and pet foods are showing huge growth potential with new products popping up at every tradeshow we attend.  To keep your thumb on the pulse of the organic food industry, we’ve honed in on 5 Organic Food Industry Trends You Need to Know:

  1. Market to the Millennial – According to a survey published by the Organic Trade Association in September 2016, 52% of organic buyers are millennials. And they aren’t new to organics.  Many of them grew up eating organic food so they are much more familiar with what organic means and why it’s important. They are also the most adventurous and worldly demographic; open to experimentation in the kitchen with a keen eye for global flavors.  If you’re creating an organic food product, make sure it resonates with the millennial shopper.
  2. Not Just Any Produce, Value-Added Produce – Organic produce is growing in general. According to the Organic Trade Association and Nielsen, the organic produce category grew 16.4% in 2015. However, the real opportunity is in value-added produce. This relates to the millennial shopper that wants convenience, flavor and fun delivered with their cooking experience. The addition of organic herbs and spices provide a great opportunity to add value to this organic category favorite.
  3. Wholesale Clubs are Hot – We mentioned it at the top of the article but it bares repeating, Costco sells more organic food than Whole Foods! There is a huge opportunity here for almost any organic food manufacturer. Organic food has been wildly successful in club formats and they are always looking for new products to bring their customers in the door more frequently.
  4. Foodservice is the New Frontier – We’re not talking white tablecloth restaurants.(Although many have been passionate promoters of organics for decades.) We’re talking about the quick service restaurant (QSR) category. Amy’s opened their first restaurant this year. The mostly organic, all-vegetarian menu is a nod to what many say is the future of fast food. And, to further confirm how convinced Costco’s top management is of the organic opportunity, The Organic Coup, America’s first certified organic fast food restaurant, opened in California this spring with the financial backing of Costco’s founder and former CEO, Jim Sinegal, and Chief Financial Officer, Richard Galanti.
  5. Meal Kit Mania – It’s the big disrupter. A game changer.  We joke at HQO that it’s the “Amazon.com affect.” Consumers don’t want to go to stores anymore. They want everything delivered to their doorstep – including their next fresh, made-from-scratch meal. Meal kit delivery services are popping up left and right to answer the call.  Some give caution to this rapidly growing food frontier. It’s full of a lot of newbies. Meanwhile, established food brands and grocery stores are also starting to get into the mix. Regardless, it’s not to be ignored. Packaged Facts values the industry at $1.5 billion with the expectation that it will double in the next few years.  Blue Apron alone reportedly ships 8 million meals per month.  Many of these meal kit services focus on  fresh, organic ingredients and the door-to-door service gives the food industry and new and intimate opportunity to share the food story with the consumer.

It is abruptly clear. These five trends give us an exciting and optimistic message. There’s no better time for the organic food industry to make an even bigger imprint at the American dinner table.