Wales: Organics may no longer be seen as luxury purchase
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A recent survey of Welsh shoppers, commissioned by the Organic Centre Wales, found that the trend towards shoppers who never buy organic food coming predominantly from lower “social grades” appears to have changed.
When the study was conducted in 2010, more than three quarters (76%) of respondents that never bought organic food were classified within the lower social grades, but in 2013 this figure dropped to nearly half (54%).
Looking at the group of consumers that do buy organic, although there were slight variations in the amount they bought, shoppers from more affluent households still account for 64% of all organic buyers, ruling out the explanation that richer households are turning their backs on organic produce. (Picture by Tom Woodier: Visitors at the Abergavenny Food Festival sampling organic cheeses from Calon Wen)
However, the study also highlighted the need for greater education about organic food and farming if shoppers are to buy more organic products more regularly. Of the 702 shoppers interviewed, almost half (43%) revealed that they do not know enough about organic to justify paying any extra for it, while more than half (57%) of non-buyers listed price amongst the main barriers to choosing organic. Both statistics were almost identical to the findings in the 2010 survey. “We are not surprised to see that concerns over price are still impacting on the decision to buy organic, not least because we know that most people still think that organic food is far more expensive than it is in reality,” explained Neil Pearson from Organic Centre Wales. “One really interesting thing about this study is that it reflects the many different reasons that people have for choosing organic, from health and taste, to animal welfare and wider environmental benefits. This variety in people’s motivations has remained extremely consistent over a number of years; suggesting that if price perception can be addressed then the organic market has a positive future in the UK.” The full report can be viewed here: http://www.organiccentrewales.org.uk/
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