ROCKVILLE, MD. — Fifty-three per cent of adults in a recent survey said they are purchasing more natural and organic foods than ever before, according to market research firm Packaged Facts. The belief that natural, organic and humane agricultural practices produce foods that are healthier, safer or more nutritious is becoming more and more widespread. These convictions have caused a “notable shift in behavior” when purchasing foods and beverages, Packaged Facts said.

“Many consumers ascribe positive attributes to clean label foods, even if they don’t personally partake,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “The food industry has seen a rise in adults who believe that various food products that are natural, boast organic or animal welfare credentials, or make other claims to clean label status taste better, are healthier, are more nutritious or are better for the environment.”

The “archetypal” clean label consumer, Packaged Facts said, tends to be informed, curious, highly educated and active in the management of his or her health and wellness. Millennials and Generation Xers, as well as those of Hispanic and Asian ethnicities, also tend to be more inclined toward natural, organic and clean label products. Other demographic features disproportionately seen in organic and clean label consumers include possession of an advanced academic degree beyond college, resident in the Northeast and Pacific regions of the United States, presence of young children in the household and an annual household income of $100,000 or more.

“However, it is also true that there is a powerful emotional component to clean label consumerism,” Packaged Facts said. “It’s personal. It means connecting to the community and to the world; making choices that are possibly values driven, or perhaps inspired by nostalgia for a simpler time; and advocating for the well-being of animals raised for food, of growers in developing countries, or of the planet. It can be empowering to those with this mentality.”