Concerns over environmental and health issues are set to propel growth of the organic and natural category over the next two years, new research has suggested.

Consumer purchasing is still informed by environmental concerns and many US shoppers are willing to pay more for “green” products, despite the economic downturn, research firm Mintel has claimed.

According to a study from the market research group, 35% of US consumers surveyed claimed that they are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products.

Of those that already regularly purchase organic foods, 21% have reduced or eliminated organic goods from their grocery spend in a bid to cut costs. However, 48% have increased their spending on organic goods.

Although the natural and organic category grew by just 1.8% during 2998, Mintel predicted that sales of organic food and beverages will grow by nearly 20% from 2010 to 2012.