Organic food is far from breaking news. However, the changing food shopping experience combined with the stress–financial and otherwise– brought about by the pandemic may be changing the way that Americans interact with organic options. 

As the data show, 10% of U.S. adults purchase organic food every chance they get, while 29% never do.

In the past year, interest in organic food has evolved, with the most notable changes occurring in Q2 (at the beginning of the pandemic) and Q4 last year. While Q2 saw many Americans increasing their interest in organic items, Q4 saw the reverse. In fact, the number of people who say they never purchase organic food has risen sharply–from 25% to 29% since that time. 

Perhaps not surprisingly, those who are making and spending more are also more likely to be purchasing organic food more often. 

There is also a strong correlation between those who are eating more healthy foods during the pandemic and those who are purchasing organic most often. And, in a similar vein, after dinner snackers are the least likely to be buying organic food.

Those who buy organic tend to shop at local, independent grocers or specialty co-ops. In regards to other stores, organic and non-organic shoppers are near-equal.

Generally speaking, however, those who purchase organic are also doing more of their non-grocery shopping online than those who do not. Combined with the fact that organic shoppers are overall more concerned about being in public spaces, we can conclude that they are shopping online to stay healthy rather than benefit from the convenience.

Along the lines of healthy lifestyle choices, those who exercise the most are also the most likely to be purchasing organic. 

Organic-buyers are also more interested in maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet, rather than avoiding or eliminating certain foods from their meals.

As it stands, consumers who prefer organic food appear to have an eye towards health that encompasses all aspects of the word. Not only are they exercising more, but they’re also avoiding shopping in stores, snacking less after dinner, and have been eating healthier since the start of the pandemic. 

So while the number of organic food buyers recently decreased, it could be a simple matter of cost in a time when many Americans are feeling cautious about finances. Or perhaps it’s just early anticipation of farmer’s markets and summer gardens.