- Eight in 10 consumers in the LOHAS category — which stands for living a lifestyle of health and sustainability — read food labels to look for fewer, and pronounceable, ingredients when shopping, according to the 2017 Market LOHAS Health & Natural Consumer Study.
- Almost three quarters of LOHAS shoppers spend a lot of their time and money at the store's perimeter, looking for fresh produce, meat and dairy. They concentrate on organic items — 64% say the selection of organics influences the stores they choose to shop in — and indicated that health and environmental concerns were their top two motivations for purchasing organics.
- About 68% indicated they always seek out local or regional products at the grocery.
The sought-after LOHAS demographic makes up about 22% of the population, according to the Natural Marketing Institute. They tend to be the first adopters of natural food trends and products, and spend 10% more on items that meet their ideals of healthiness and sustainability.
They're also a bellwether for the direction that food trends will go. While they make up less than a quarter of consumers, they have an outsized influence on how the market will shift. Things important to LOHAS shoppers are — or will quickly become — important to a majority of consumers soon.
It's no surprise that LOHAS shoppers pay close attention to clean labels and organic items. Natural and organic foods have posted double-digit growth in the last several years, with an 11% increase last year, according to the Organic Trade Association.
Naturally grown and produced products are becoming a mainstay on store shelves. The OTA says organic fruit sales grew 123% in the last five years, while organic vegetables have increased about 92%. This sales spurt comes from all ages of shoppers. About 60% of millennials have their baskets at least half filled with organic and natural products, according to Acosta, but more than a third of Generation X shoppers are also buying natural and organic items.
One of the bigger surprises of this study might be their focus on local and regional products. Darrin Duber-Smith, a senior lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver, told Food Dive the popularity of farmers markets is evidence of this trend. Stores dedicating just 5% of their floor space to local products, he said, will be missing out.
"More square footage on the planogram needs to be local, and less should go to the national products," he said.
Retailers might do well to follow the example of stores like Urban Kitchen Grocery in Washington, D.C., which is both a food incubator and a grocery store, selling locally produced kombucha and granola alongside Coke and Heinz Ketchup. Larger scale retailers might want to emulate Texas grocery H-E-B, which runs an annual contest to get the best made-in-Texas products on its shelves.