Blogosphere Reveals Consumer Views on Organics

BOULDER, Colo. -- Health benefits, taste, and environmental impact are the most important reasons bloggers cite for buying organic foods, according to a study from Umbria, Inc., a market intelligence company that specializes in blog research and consumer generated media (CGM) for market insight.

Notable in the study is the dominance and passion of female bloggers across all age groups for this topic, driven primarily by Gen Y females. Bloggers in this demographic segment talked about the attraction of organic retailers offering luxury items such as premium juices and prepared sushi. They also discussed how in-store free samples often brought them to the store and had them return. (Story continues below.)

"We are passionate about our health and wellness, and that passion can be found in discussions throughout the blogosphere," said Janet Eden-Harris, Umbria c.e.o. "This study confirms that there is a growing market of sophisticated consumers for organic products, and they are not shy in talking about what they want."

Other insights included:

--Whole Foods dominates blogosphere conversations as a retailer, cited in three out of four mentions of organic retailers; Wild Oats follows with more than 1 out of 10 mentions.

--Wal-Mart spiked conversation in June with its announcement of its entry into organics, but few bloggers talked about buying from them.

--Safeway garnered just 4 percent of the conversation in Q2, but appears to be growing in awareness; Trader Joe's was also mentioned frequently for its affordable and tasty organic products.

--Health benefits are the most commonly cited reasons for buying organic products, with taste and appeal of the products being the second-strongest motivation. The effect on the environment and buying locally comprised the third major theme among bloggers discussing organic food purchases.

--Consumers blogging about organic foods are also concerned with animal welfare, specifically ducks being raised for foie gras, ethical issues around the catching of wild seafood, and treatment of cows.

--The organic movement is gaining force with pet owners as well. Some owners mention purchasing natural/organic pet food, even though it costs more than traditional pet food.

Umbria is a marketing intelligence company that analyzes the unaided opinions, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors of the online world (including blogs, message boards, Usenet, and product review sites.) and distills it into actionable insights about companies, brands, products, people, and issues.

Highlights of the study can be found on Umbria's Web site at
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