New Acosta Group Study Highlights Key Influences for Growing Base of Natural & Organic Shoppers, Reflecting Opportunities for Brands and Retailers

Shopper browsing aisles on phone

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 6, 2023) – As natural product stakeholders gather this week at Natural Products Expo West 2023 in Anaheim, Calif., a new Acosta Group Shopper Insights study looks at the state of the natural/organic shopper, providing brands and retailers valuable information to drive growth in store and online. Natural product sales continue to climb, and interest and usage has increased across all age groups, particularly Gen Z and Millennial shoppers buying natural/organic products. These shoppers also tend to be more affluent, placing a higher emphasis on leading a healthy life, being ecofriendly and concerned for animal welfare, and trying new products. 

“When we ask natural and organic shoppers of all ages the most important influence in their product choices, the top response is their focus on being healthier, including the avoidance of chemicals, pesticides and processed foods,” said Kathy Risch, SVP, Consumer Insights and Trends at Acosta Group. “These shoppers place nearly equal importance on ingredients as they do on price, while conventional shoppers place more importance on price alone.”  

However, the study also found that when natural/organic shoppers are asked to explain the difference between natural and organic, many find it challenging, often responding that the two are “similar” or that they are “unsure.” 

“This knowledge creates an exciting opportunity for brands and retailers to further educate both natural and organic and conventional shoppers,” said Risch.  

Other key findings and implications from the study include: 

  • With natural/organic product sales on track to reach an estimated $300B in 2024 according to New Hope Network, a broad selection of natural/organic products will be expected across the omnichannel store. This will be especially relevant to Gen Z shoppers, who will have far more spending power over the next decade.
  • The demand for increased label and ingredient transparency by manufacturers and retailers will rise and be a critical factor in purchase choice.
  • For non-natural and organic shoppers, 73% list price as the primary barrier to purchase, with 47% saying that conventional products are “more practical” and 44% expressing skepticism about the “hype” around the products.  

“This study clearly shows the tremendous opportunity for brands and retailers to find new ways to engage with the next generation consumer that is stimulating the natural and organic category,” said John Carroll, President, Digital Commerce and Advanced Analytics for Acosta Group. “To support further growth with these shoppers, a critical component is bridging the physical and digital shelf with an omnichannel strategy that will drive conversion and brand preference.”

Acosta Group’s Natural and Organic online survey was conducted with 816 primary household shoppers, ages 18 - 76, from Acosta’s proprietary Shopper Community. The survey was fielded Oct. 26 - Nov. 4, 2022.


Acosta, an Acosta Group agency, will share more insights from this study at Natural Products Expo West 2023 in Anaheim, Calif., from March 7 - 11, 2023. Carroll will be introducing the keynote address, “The State of Natural & Organic,” on Wed., March 8. 

The agency is the leader in natural, specialty, ethnic and emerging brands, and continues to expand its capabilities to meet the needs of this space. Over the past two years, the company has acquired two agencies, Impact Group and OeP, that are helping natural brands grow across omnichannel retail.