Back to Basics: Why more and more consumers are opting for natural

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In March 2017, the Natural Products Expo West trade show highlighted the tremendous growth of the natural food industry, with 3,100 participating companies. Fueled by demand for more wholesome foods, the natural food category is thriving.

From clean protein sources to functional fats and brain-boosting nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, prominent trends from Expo West reveal a growing progression toward grass-fed dairy sources. Truly Grass Fed sought to better understand the health-conscious consumers driving the shift toward more wholesome, natural foods. Here’s what we discovered:

The Pursuit of Wellness
To optimize their quality of life, some 51 million Americans are making more informed food choices that hearken back to the basics – food that is nourishing, sustainable, minimally processed, yet still delicious. Driven by a desire to feed their families the best quality food available, these consumers have grocery shopping down to a science. They research health claims, read labels and rely on verified seals denoting quality.

Labels such as Non-GMO Project Verified validate foods and simplify purchasing decisions. Other claims indicating quality, such as grass fed, are influential but still not clearly understood. Truly Grass Fed recently surveyed 1,000 consumers to gauge the importance of various food claims1. Eighty-seven percent of participants want to learn more about grass-fed dairy and 75 percent say grass fed is already an important attribute when selecting dairy products1. Of particular importance are grass-fed milk, cheese and butter.

By creating awareness for the health benefits of grass fed dairy over conventionally produced and even organic dairy, even more consumers will come to trust and prefer products carrying our Truly Grass Fed seal.

The Flavor Factor
While health is growing in importance, consumers will always prefer flavorful foods that please palates. The boom of natural foods is due in large part to the superior flavor and quality of fresh, minimally processed ingredients. Dairy is no exception. Our consumer survey ranks taste as one of the top three attributes, along with health and animal welfare, that incentivize purchase of grass-fed dairy1.

How cows live and eat dramatically influences the milk they produce. Clean, wholesome dairy from cows grazing in open pastures has a distinctly creamy flavor and consistency that is unmatched.

A Holistic View
More and more people are choosing foods that positively affect personal health and wellness, while also showing compassion for animals and the environment. According to 2016 data, 15 percent of the adult population is environmentally conscious when making food decisions and choose to buy natural as a result.

Health, quality, animal welfare and sustainability – these are more than just trendy buzzwords, they are a food philosophy that resonates with millions of Americans and energizes our continued journey to third-party grass-fed certification.

1. Grass Fed Consumer Survey, Sterling Rice Group November 2016
2. GFK MRI 2016 Spring (slides 22-23)