Sixty-three percent of consumers who responded to an IBM survey say they’ve consciously changed the way they shop at grocery stores over the last 2 years.

In recessionary times, they want better value for their hard-earned cash. Moreover, they’re willing to buy fresher foods (45%) and/or higher-quality foods (43%)—a great opportunity for natural and organic food producers to capture a new consumer base.

“Especially in today’s economy, if consumers are going to pay a little extra for a branded or organic product, they want to be assured that they’re paying for something different and better quality,” says Guy Blissett, consumer products leader for the IBM Institute for Business Value.

“Across the board, consumers are demanding transparency and more information about the food they purchase to ensure their safety and that of their families,” he adds. “As the government, industry associations, retailers and manufacturers work through the operational issues associated with ensuring food safety, we can each become more aware and take greater responsibility for the food we purchase.”

Photo courtesy of Whole Foods Market