Are Organic Foods the New Luxury?
Due to increasing health consciousness, knowledge of genetically modified foods and pesticides, and an overall more-conscientious consumer, organic and natural foods are being seen as a luxury purchase, according to a report from IBISWorld.
The overall report, The New Luxury, found that as the economy rebounds out of the Great Recession, Americans have opted for "more subdued, conscientious and functional versions of luxury" instead of splashy purchases such as jewelry or sports cars. The researchers also tracked trends around an increasing price consciousness and more personalization as new luxury components.
The organic and natural food appeal closely links to how ‘luxury’ is supporting the burgeoning green movement, which includes both eco-friendly and good-for-you items.
"Although not all of these are new habits, people’s willingness to pay for such luxuries despite still-tight budgets demonstrate the importance of maintaining a high-end lifestyle for many consumers," the report stated.
The obvious reason organic food purchases from either grocers or farmers’ markets stand out as luxury items is because they are being bought despite their higher prices. In Los Angeles, for instance, a 48 count of green onions cost $48.00 for organics versus only $10.00 for conventional, according to the Rodale Institute.
"Because of the trend toward organics, vegetable markets, supercenters and grocery stores are experiencing skyrocketing demand for organic products, with companies such as Kroger and Walmart increasing their organic offerings just to satisfy customers," the researchers state in the report.
The trend on the food side has also spread, with higher priced organic items now available in frozen food, cookies and crackers.
- The New Luxury – IBISworld
- The new definition of luxury: Discounted, personalized and green – Los Angeles Times
- Consumers’ Less Lavish Return To Luxury – Mediapost
Discussion Questions: Do you think consumers view organic and natural food items as personal luxury items? To what degree are typical luxury perceptions supporting the overall green and good-for-you movement?