Organic consumption is on the rise…. or is it?

18 11 2011

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I came across this press release by the Organic Trade Association and I was really happy to see that despite the economy people are choosing to buy organic more and more. 78%  of the families are buying organic because it is good for you, your children and the environment…. wait… 78%? That sounds too good to be true!

And it is. I find that the wording of the report may be conveying the idea that 78% of Americans are choosing to buy organic, and that they are forgetting to make clear (it is vaguely implied) that the survey was conducted through Kiwi Magazine, which is for “organic families”. This means that basically 78% of the people who are interested in organic products in the first place are buying organics. A very different scenario if you ask me.

It is certainly great that of the people who are interested in organic living a larger percentage than ever are acting upon their beliefs. It really is. But I also find it irritating when statistics are interpreted wrongly, albeit innocently, not really analyzing the reality of the sample pool, a very common mistake.

Moral of the story: when reading a report *always* keep in mind how the survey was conducted and who the target subjects were. That can make a huge difference in the answers.