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Many Americans Make Eating Organic Food a Top Choice to Protect Health, According to New Survey
Apr 9, 2002

Eating organic foods and beverages ranks
as one of the top methods for ensuring long-term health along
with taking vitamins and cutting calories, according to a national
survey conducted for Walnut Acres, America's original organic
food company.

Americans are convinced that these health choices make a meaningful
difference. Nine in 10 Americans (90%) believe one's lifestyle
plays a critical role in determining long-term health and nearly
six in 10 (58%) say they are thinking about the future when making
food choices. For many, that means consuming organic foods and
beverages. The majority of Americans (56%) believe that organic
foods and beverages are healthier than non-organics and 57% believe
that "eating and drinking organic foods and beverages from childhood
helps protect people from possible health problems."

"Americans clearly see organic eating as a way to take control
of their long-term health," said Mark Koide, vice president of
marketing of Acirca, Inc., maker of Walnut Acres. "We are giving
consumers high-quality, great tasting certified organic
foods and beverages that provide a convenient way to care for
themselves and protect their future health."

Taking Control of Long-Term Health

Most Americans (56%) believe that organics are healthier than
non-organics. When asked to select from a list of actions that
they personally consider good choices for long-term health, Americans
reported:


  1. Taking vitamin/mineral supplements (67%)

  2. Substantially reducing caloric intake (62%)

  3. Eating or drinking organics (47%)

  4. Cutting out carbohydrates/adding protein (36%)

  5. Eating a vegetarian diet (15%)

  6. Taking diet pills to suppress appetite (5%)


Reported as "Good choices for people trying
to help ensure their long-term health"

Taking Care of the Family

Americans also see organic eating as a way to take good care of
their families. Six in 10 organic purchasers (61%) say they're
buying for the entire family, and this percentage increases to
nine in 10 (89%) among parents who buy organic foods and beverages.
Two-thirds of organic purchasers say major reasons for buying
are that "organics are better for me and my family" (68%), organics
are healthier than non-organic foods and beverages (66%), and
"I feel like I am taking good care of myself and my family when
I choose organic products (65%)."

Organic Industry Growth

These positive perceptions may help explain why organic foods
have grown more than 24% per year for the past decade-ten times
the growth of conventional foods. Sales of organic foods and beverages
totaled $8 billion in 2000 and are expected to reach $20 billion
by 2005.

The survey from Walnut Acres found that currently more than half
of Americans (51%) buy organic foods or beverages at least sometimes,
and about four in 10 expect that organic foods (44%) and beverages
(38%) will be an increasing part of their diets in the next five
years. A good sign for industry growth: younger adults are buying
even more organics than the general population. Nearly seven in
10 (68%) of 18- to 24-year-olds say they purchase organic foods
or beverages "every time" or "sometimes" when they go shopping.

Food safety concerns are also expected to drive sales of organic
food products. Three fourths (74%) of all Americans say they are
concerned about the safety of foods today and the majority (87%)
of organic purchasers are motivated to buy organics because they
are safer. Many worry about "mystery ingredients" in non-organics:
74% of all Americans agree that "with non-organic foods and beverages,
you never know what hidden ingredients you are eating." New legislation
mandates clear labeling of products that are - and are not - certified
organic
.

New Labeling Requirements

Beginning in October 2002, products with at least 95% organic
content may carry a "USDA Organic" seal, indicating the product
fulfills the new standards of the National Organic Program (NOP).
All Walnut Acres products will carry the seal. For the first time,
consumers nationwide will be able to select a food labeled "organic"
knowing that it meets a strict, consistent standard, no matter
where it is produced or sold. Moreover, the use of the "USDA Organic"
seal will signify that the maker follows the rigorous NOP certification
program and is reviewed by certified inspectors.

The Walnut Acres survey found that more than seven in 10 Americans
(72%) say that if presented with two identical foods, they would
be more likely to purchase the one with an organic seal than the
one without, all other things being equal. "The USDA Organic seal
will increase consumer confidence and trust that all products
carrying the seal meet strict, consistent federal guidelines,"
Koide said.

Survey Methodology

The study was conducted by RoperASW via telephone among a nationally
representative sample of 1,000 adults, age 18 or older. The sample
was collected March 1 - March 3, 2002, using Random Digit Dialing
methodology.

Walnut Acres

Walnut Acres produces the finest quality certified organic
soups, pasta sauces, juices and salsas. All Walnut Acres products
meet or exceed the strict U. S. Department of Agriculture's National
Organic Program standards for certified organic foods and
beverages. Walnut Acres products never contain synthetic preservatives,
artificial sweeteners, sulfites, extenders, stabilizers, MSG,
artificial flavors or colorings.

Established in 1946, Walnut Acres is America's original organic
food company and is owned by New Rochelle, N.Y.-based Acirca,
Inc., makers of fine certified organic foods and beverages.
The name Acirca is inspired by the phrase "a circle of life"
and reflects the company's commitment to the development of products
that help consumers obtain better health and are good for the
environment. Acirca is a privately held company owned collectively
by company employees and independent investors. The company strives
to bring convenience in packaged certified organic foods
to health-conscious consumers wherever they shop.



Media Contact:

Michael Neuwirth, Acirca (914) 380-8020
mneuwirth@acirca.com





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Did Walnut Acres used to make other products?
Yes. However, to focus on producing only certified organic foods and beverages and to make them more widely available, the...
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