US researchers have suggested that organic products are failing to gain mainstream appeal in the country, despite increasing retail penetration and media attention.

According to research firm TABS, there has not been a growth in the number of consumers who purchase organic products over the past 12 months.

"The usage results for our latest study were remarkably similar to the results from last year's study. Organic food and beauty products continue to be niche products, they have not penetrated a mass audience, to date,"  TABS group president Dr Kurt Jetta said.

"Identical to last year, only 38% of adults claim to have purchased anything from the major organic categories in the last six months."

According to the study, organic fresh fruit had the highest purchase incidence at 26%, with organic fresh vegetables close behind at 25%. Organic dairy products, eggs and milk, were cited for purchase by 17% and 16% of US adults, respectively. Frozen organic products had low purchase levels at 5-7%.

The study found that traditional supermarkets were the preferred outlets for these products compared to natural food stores by a margin of 39% to 27%.

According to Jetta, retailers who are investing heavily in organic products are seeing a "very low return" on their investment.

"We can only hope that the mainstream retailers and manufacturers stop marching in lockstep to this illusory 'trend' and refocus their efforts on more mainstream categories and products," he said.