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People Who Start Buying Organic Rarely Go Back, Says Recent Study

By Aimee Lutkin

A new study from the Journal of Consumer Research is disproving some long held theories about how people make changes in what they shop for in the produce aisle. Researchers followed 8,700 consumers for 20 months, using information gleaned from a customer rewards service at a huge Dutch retailer. It has generally been assumed that people start with one organic product—most commonly, organic milk. They may then take the next step up, but it's a fairly long journey from one product to the next. Actually, it's an incredibly smooth transition.

Beyond Pesticides reports that John Thøgersen, the study's coauthor and professor at the Aarhus University of Business and Social Science in Denmark, shared a press release explaining the significance of their findings.

“In connection with organic consumption, there has previously been talk of an ‘organic staircase’ in the sense that consumers are generally buying certain organic products before others. But our research shows that in fact, we’re dealing with an escalator where the upward movement is taking place automatically. Once you’ve purchased your first organic product, you’re not likely to stop. You’ll continue, and over time, you’ll increase your organic shopping list. And you’ll even be following a rather predictable consumption pattern.”

Basically, it's a lot easier to make the switch than people thought.