Seventy-eight percent of U.S. families say they are choosing organic foods, an increase from last year despite hard economic times, a survey indicates.
Christine Bushway, executive director of the Organic Trade Association, found four in 10 families indicate they are buying more organic products than they were a year ago.
Forty-eight percent of parents surveyed said their strongest motivator for buying organic is their belief that organic products "are healthier for me and my children." Other motivators included concern over the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on children, and a desire to avoid highly processed or artificial ingredients.
Nearly a decade after the federal rules for organic were implemented, 72 percent of parents are now familiar with the USDA Organic seal, up from 65 percent in 2009, the survey indicated.
However, the study also found that three in 10 U.S. families are new entrants to the organic marketplace.
An organic label indicates the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods -- synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering may not be used.
For the study, Organic Trade Association, in partnership with KIWI Magazine, polled nearly 1,300 U.S. families about their attitudes and behaviors relating to organic foods.
The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.