Nearly half of Canadians purchase ‘natural’ products

Mintel's latest study also reveals buying local is more top of mind for Canadians than Americans.

The pandemic seems to have boosted the popularity of natural and organic products.

At least that’s according to the latest Mintel data, which reveals that 47% of Canadians regularly purchase “natural” products and 29% buy “organic,” continuing an upward trajectory the research firm first identified in 2018. These respondents are also far more likely to claim that they are buying more of these products now compared to before COVID-19.

That’s part of a broad shift to cooking at home – 74% of Canadians say they are doing so more – as well as heightened health concerns brought on by the pandemic, a trend Mintel expects to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to the report, Canadians are much more likely to accept that natural and organic products as being both healthy and better for the environment than being a “gimmick.” Mintel says feedback from respondents indicates that consumers assign tangible value to natural and organic claims overall, further affirming their importance.

The report recommends that producers and retailers should focus on helping shoppers in making a clear connection between natural/organic products and the health and environmental values they support in order to help convey their value in relatable and tangible terms.

Preferences for “made locally” products are also being influenced by the pandemic. Some 42% of Canadians, compared with only 25% of Americans, cite a product’s local origins as being important to them when choosing food.

With foodservice also continuing to experience far lower traffic levels than normal, Mintel says it’s reasonable to expect grocery sales will remain elevated for much of 2021 as the Canadian economy transitions to normalcy.

As the economy embarks on a path to recovery in 2021 – possibly coming at the later part of the year, according to forecasts from the Bank of Canada – the competition for dollars is likely to intensify. The 2021 edition of Canada’s Food Price Report predicts food prices will rise between 3% and 5%, with vegetables and meat potentially increasing by 6.5%.

Even in these tough economic times for many, however, consumer feedback shows that demand for natural/organic foods continues to rise.