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Youngest Adults Drive Growth of Organic Foods and Beverages: Walnut Acres Releases Second Annual
Apr 9, 2002

America's youngest adults are leading the
trend in organic eating, according to the second annual "Walnut
Acres Certified Organic Future" study, conducted by RoperASW
for Walnut Acres, America's original organic food company.

The study found that 18-24 year-olds are the adults most likely
to buy organics, most likely to plan an increase in their future
organic beverage consumption, and most likely to view organic
foods and beverages as a smart long-term health choice. The survey
also finds that many Americans now include eating organic food
as one of the top choices for ensuring long-term health, along
with taking vitamins and dieting.

Youngest Adults Key for Industry Growth

The Walnut Acres study shows that 18-24 year-olds are leading
the trend toward organic foods and beverages:

  • Nearly seven in 10 (68%)18- to 24-year-olds
    buy organic foods or beverages at least sometimes when they
    shop, compared to 51% of adults overall (including 52% of
    25-34 year-olds, 52% of 35-49 year-olds, 50% of 50-64 year-olds
    and 37% of adults 65+).

  • Nearly half (48%) of 18-24 year-olds
    plan to consume more organic beverages in the next five years,
    compared to 38% of Americans overall (including 42% of 25-34
    year-olds, 37% of 35-49 year-olds, 34% of 50-64 year-olds
    and 32% of adults 65+). Forty-four percent of Americans overall
    plan to eat more organic foods in the next five years.

  • Nearly eight in 10 (78%) 18-24 year-olds
    believe that consuming organic foods and beverages is a smart
    choice for long-term health and well-being, compared to 59%
    of adults overall, (including 55% of 25-34 year-olds, 65%
    of 35-49 year-olds, 56% of 50-64 year-olds, and 43% of adults

"Fifty-one percent of Americans chose to
eat organic food and the majority perceive it to be better for
them. Increasingly, more people can find organic products wherever
they shop," said Mark Rodriguez, CEO of Acirca, Inc., maker of
Walnut Acres, which produces certified organic soups, pasta
sauces, salsas and juices. "Organic foods and beverages also continue
to face obstacles, such as price, availability and merchandising
in conventional supermarkets."

Obstacles to Organic Purchase

Among barriers to organic purchases, cost is cited as the leading
obstacle. More than six in 10 (64%) Americans who do not purchase
organic foods and beverages every time they shop cite cost as
a reason. "I believe we can improve the price-value relationship
of packaged organic foods and beverages through product innovation
and advertising," said Rodriguez. "We need to educate consumers
about the unique benefits of 'certified organic' foods,
which deliver the same convenience of conventional foods."

The top reasons Americans cite for not purchasing organic foods
and beverages are:

  1. Organic foods and beverages cost
    more than non-organic foods and beverages (64%)

  2. There is a lack of product selection
    or variety of organic foods and beverages (57%)

  3. There is no proof yet that organic
    foods and beverages are healthier to eat (53%)

  4. I don't see any benefits in buying
    organic foods and beverages (49%)

  5. There are no standards for organic
    foods (49%

  6. Organic foods and beverages just
    aren't available where I shop (48%)

  7. Organic foods and beverages don't
    taste as good as non-organic foods and beverages (44%)

  8. I don't understand what "organic"
    means (27%)

Question asked reasons for not buying organics

Taking Control of Long-Term Health

Eating organics now ranks with taking vitamins and dieting as
top choices for ensuring long-term health. 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

  2. Substantially reducing caloric intake

  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

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

Americans also see organics as a way to
care for their families: six in 10 organic food or beverage purchasers
(61%) say they're buying for the entire family, and this percentage
increases to nine in 10 (89%) among parents who purchase organics.

USDA Standards May Instill Greater Confidence

The research indicates that the USDA national standard for organic
food production and labeling, scheduled for retail introduction
this October, will increase Americans' confidence and purchasing
habits of organics. The implementation of a federally regulated
standard will make two-thirds (68%) more confident about organic
food products. And 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.

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

Acirca and 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

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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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