Tipping Point: Organic Foods Go Mainstream?

Malcolm Gladwell pointed out that social phenomena influence the adoption of new ideas, trends or wants. When the tipping point is reached, mass market adoption ensures.

Have we actually reached the tipping point in the organic food market? Once a back-to-basic movement that was reminiscent of a simpler time, organic food is gaining mass market appeal. While organics constitute only 2.5% ($15B) of the overall US food market, the category is growing fast and is expected to reach 5% of the grocery market within 3 years.

Wal-Mart’s entrance into the organic market gives it legitimacy that will accelerate market adoption. There are several reasons for this, as Wal-Mart is able to:

-Introduce organics to millions of customers, most of which would not ordinarily have access or exposure to them

-Keep prices low (within 10% of non-organic alternatives) due to the sheer volume that it contracts from suppliers

-Increase the number of food products that offer an organic alternative, enabling organics to increase share of the grocery wallet.

Wal-Mart’s entrance into the organics market is truly a bellwether event. Careful note should be taken of marketing efforts to promote organics during the coming months, as there will inevitably be learnings that transcend across all green products/categories, and especially for those teetering on the edge of a tipping point.

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