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Organics: 20 years later, still a big success story

20th anniversary of organics“While the prospect of strong growth looms before the organic industry, so also do the prospects of rival product claims, consumer confusion, mainstream market entrants, changing channel relationships, intensified competition, and most fundamentally, an entirely new basis of competition requiring novel strategies and skills to achieve success.”

— From The Hartman Group’s The Evolving Organic Marketplace report, 1997

This paragraph was from the introduction to our The Evolving Organic Marketplace report first published in 1997, and little did we know then just how prescient its message would be 20 years later. This year we’re celebrating the twentieth anniversary of this landmark work that not only predicted a fast-changing corporate gameboard within a vibrant subset of consumer packaged foods (where large companies would begin to dominate a fragmented market through acquisition of small, pioneering brands) but also accurately foresaw that the explosively growing organic category was capable of steady, sustained growth in the years to come.

The organic market has flourished much as we predicted and continues to evolve. In this special report, we bring you up to date on this burgeoning market and provide the cultural context around the consumer behaviors influencing and shaping the organic marketplace of today and tomorrow. We start with a snapshot into the world of organics to profile the levels of participation in this evolving category then move on to look at how consumers live in, talk about, define, adopt and shop for organics.

Today, we find that consumers across all segments possess greater knowledge about organics and that their increased knowledge is leading them to ask more questions than ever before.

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Hartman Group’s Organic & Natural 2016 REPORT



Food & Beverage Occasions Consumer Package Goods Health & Wellness Organic/Natural Retail/Shopper Insights Trends Point Of View Foodservice/Restaurant


As leaders in the study of American food culture, The Hartman Group has been tracking how Americans shop for food since the 1990s. From one-stop shopping to multichannel shopping to online markets and click-and-collect, we continue to track consumers’ evolving perceptions, needs, habits and relationships with food retailers. New to the 2017 report is a special section on the expansion of the discount grocery channel, the emerging fresh-format channel and smaller-footprint retail formats.


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