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Research Suggests Organic Food May Not Be Healthier After All; Will This Change Shoppers’ Food Choices?

Research Suggests Organic Food May Not Be Healthier After All; Will This Change Shoppers’ Food Choices?

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, there’s one thing on our minds over here at SurveyMonkey—food. And recently, the topic of organic food in particular, has become a part of the national conversation.

At one time, organic products were only found in health food and specialty stores. With a cultural shift that highlighted the importance of eating right and exercising regularly, U.S. retailers faced an increase in demand for such foods. Organic products flooded the shelves of U.S. food retailers, driving the organic foods industry to $21.1 billion from only $3.6 billion less than ten years ago.

Recently, researchers at Stanford University conducted a study to determine whether organic foods were healthier than non-organic foods. Published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers suggested that organic food is no more nutritious than food which is conventionally grown. They concluded that there was little evidence to support the notion that eating organic is healthier. The release of these finds caused a national frenzy that dominated headlines for weeks.

Naturally, we decided to pose the question to public and see if these findings change the way consumers shop and eat. Using SurveyMonkey Audience, we surveyed 142 consumers in order to quickly understand current trends in grocery shopping, and specifically, how many regularly purchase organic foods, what types of organic foods, and why. Most importantly, in light of the study’s results, we were curious to see if people would still continue to buy organic foods.

First things first. Here’s what we learned about purchasing trends: 52% of respondents reported that they had purchased organic products in the past thirty days, compared to almost 43% who purchased non-organic foods.

And what types of organic purchases were our respondents making? After filtering out respondents who did not purchase organic, we found that almost 70% bought organic fruits, followed by 59% who purchased organic vegetables. Coming in third at 43% were dairy products, and the purchases of meats and breads/pasta came in fourth with 23% of respondents.

Keeping chemicals off plates was the biggest factor in purchasing organic foods, according to almost 60% of respondents. About half purchased organic foods in support of local farmers, while about a third of respondents made these purchases because they believed organic products taste better.

So, will Stanford’s research findings change our respondents’ purchasing habits? 40% reported they were not likely to continue purchasing organic foods but despite the research, a combined 47% reported they were at least moderately likely to continue to shop organic.


For more details on this organic food study, check out the actual survey or take a spin through the results. So what do you think about the results of Stanford’s organic food study? Are you planning on shopping organic? Let us know in the comments sections below.

And if you’re looking for respondents to complete your next survey, visit SurveyMonkey Audience to get started.

Image courtesy of BigStockPhoto

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16 thoughts on “Research Suggests Organic Food May Not Be Healthier After All; Will This Change Shoppers’ Food Choices?

  1. Molli Von Trapp says:

    These findings definitely brought up some interesting conversations at our dinner table. However, even though my kids tease me, I will still continue shopping at the organic grocery chicago. It puts my mind at ease that my children aren’t being fed chemicals.

  2. I’m really impressed together with your writing skills as neatly as with the structure for your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a great weblog like this one nowadays..

    1. Organic foods are all-natural, but they meet much higher standards than all-natural foods. They are enriched with nutrients.

  3. I just couldn’t leave your website before telling you that I truly enjoyed the top quality info you present to your visitors? Thanks for sharing this information.

    1. Kayte K says:

      Thank you for the kind words and for reading!

  4. reg. If you are certain the significant part of dirt
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  5. Julius Dahne says:

    B”H This is interesting information. I’m surprised that over half of people surveyed reported that they had purchased something organic. It’s also surprising to see that “supporting local farmers” comes in as the number 2 most likely reason that people want to buy organic – even though organic products don’t necessarily come from one’s local farmers. Over at 10 Reasons to Eat More Organic Fruits and Veggies you can get some passionate arguments. Also this article is useful which lists then most contaminated and the cleanest fruit and vegetables according to the Environmental Working Group. Finally this article talks about amazing health benefits you can get from the peels of oranges. And if you really want to benefit, those should be organic oranges, I think.

    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi Julius,

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the article and thank you very much for your insights here.

      Warm regards,

  6. superfood says:

    I enjoy what you guys are usually up too. This sort
    of clever work and reporting! Keep up the terrific works
    guys I’ve included you guys to our blogroll.

    1. Kayte K says:

      Hi there, thank you so much for your positive feedback- it means a lot to us! Thank you for reading and definitely let us know if you ever need any help with any of your future survey projects. :)

  7. Ashley says:

    Well, that is really a good information to share. Honestly, although there might be some research for that matter I will always be a fan organic vegetables and fruits. Depending on how they were grow and which farms they came. The best way to test the quality is if you have your own farm or a garden grow your food there and don’t use pesticide or any other chemicals whatsoever.

    Produce Markets

  8. I think this research will be help us.the research of grocery shopping help us so much

  9. Organic food product is much healthier but condition is that if you are using these product according to their quality and date. This is nice and informative post.

  10. according to the researchers that eating organic foods can make us long life, because let’s apply it to our life style organic

  11. AJ MacNeil says:

    Researchers suggested that organic food is no more nutritious than food which is conventionally grown. Well I would have to disagree with their research.How many people like have their food spray with chemicals or pesticides.

  12. Gary Sharp says:

    Sometimes, whether organic produce is better for you or not, people still buy organic to support local farms. I have a friend at a organic grocery in chicago who does just that. Thanks for the informative article!

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