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More Families Choosing Organic Foods

More Families Choosing Organic Foods

Organic Trade Association

Seventy-eight percent—more U.S. families than ever before—say they are choosing organic foods, according to a study published by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). “In a time when the severity of the economy means making tough choices, it is extremely encouraging to see consumers vote with their values by including quality organic products in their shopping carts,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s executive director and CEO. The finding is one of many contained in OTA’s newly released 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study. “It’s clear that with more than three-quarters of U.S. families choosing organic, this has moved way beyond a niche market,” Bushway added.

According to the study, four in ten families indicate they are buying more organic products than they were a year ago. The findings are in line with those in OTA’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey, which revealed that the U.S. organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8 percent in 2010. Fueled by consumer choice and demand, the organic sector is one of the few components of the U.S. economy that continues to add jobs.

Nearly half—48 percent—of parents surveyed revealed that their strongest motivator for buying organic is their belief that organic products “are healthier for me and my children.” Other motivators for purchasing organic included concern over the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on children, and the desire to avoid highly processed or artificial ingredients.

Nearly a decade after the federal rules for organic were implemented, 72 percent of parents are now familiar with the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic seal, up significantly from 65 percent in 2009. However, the study also found that three in ten U.S. families are new entrants to the organic marketplace. This figure is consistent with prior years’ findings, and indicates a need for continued outreach and education on the verified benefits offered by organic agriculture and products.

For the study, OTA, in partnership with KIWI Magazine, polled nearly 1,300 U.S. families about their attitudes and behaviors relating to organic foods. The total sample reflects the target population of U.S. households at a confidence interval of +/-3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. This is the third year the study has been conducted.

The study contains in-depth information about organic consumers’ demographics, purchase motivation, understanding of organic, willingness to substitute when organic is not available, and attitudes about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). Also contained in the study is strategic information about organic influencers’ communication patterns, online behaviors and much more.

The 2011 U.S. Families’ Organic Attitudes and Beliefs Study is available for purchase by visiting OTA’s bookstore.

For more information, click here.

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The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America. OTA is the leading voice for the organic trade in the U.S., representing more than 6,500 organic businesses across 49 states. Its members include growers, shippers, processors, certifiers, farmers' associations, distributors, importers, exporters, consultants, retailers and others. OTA’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by its members. OTA's mission is to promote and protect the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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