Despite a worsening US economic outlook and the impact of the September 11 attacks on consumer confidence, shoppers continue to buy organic milk, veggie burgers and other health and wellness products at a rapid clip, market research firm SPINS reported today. In September 2001, nationwide sales of health and wellness products in conventional retail outlets grew 21.5 percent versus the same period a year ago, far outpacing the growth of the overall packaged goods industry.

SPINS, which, in conjunction with ACNielsen, provides the nation’s only scanner-based tracking service for health and wellness products in conventional supermarket, drug and mass merchandiser outlets, analyzed sales of a range of health and wellness categories, including organic foods, soy products, and “healthy indulgence” snacks and desserts. Specific findings included the following:

Organic Foods & Beverages

  • Organic Milk grew 32.0 percent in September versus year ago, consistent with the 30+ percent gains the category has made for the past several months.
  • Organic Shelf Stable Fruits & Vegetables – canned tomatoes, beans and other products – also grew at a robust 24.8 percent in September versus year ago, the highest growth rate for the category since June 2001.

Soy-Based Products

  • Frozen/Refrigerated Meat Alternatives, such as veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, and deli slices, experienced growth of 16.7 percent in September versus one year ago, higher than the category’s 9 to 14 percent growth over the past few months.
  • Non-Dairy Beverages, fueled by strong sales of refrigerated Soy Milk, also grew rapidly, at 45.4 percent in September versus one year ago, consistent with the growth for the category during June, July, and August.

Healthy Indulgence Foods

  • Frozen Desserts, including organic ice cream and non-dairy desserts, increased 42.6 percent in September versus year ago, the category’s highest growth rate in the last four months.
  • Candy, including organic chocolate, showed its highest growth of the last four months, 53.7 percent versus year ago.

“Health and wellness continues to be a bright spot in the US economy,” said Paddy Spence, Chief Executive Officer of SPINS. “This information clearly shows that for many Americans, these products are increasingly a necessity, not a luxury. In uncertain times, one way shoppers can take control of their own health and well-being is through the products they consume, and natural and organic products, as well as dietary supplements, fulfill that need.”

San Francisco-based SPINS ( is the leading provider of marketing information to the health and wellness industry. SPINS offers a range of sales and consumer information services, including two services in conjunction with ACNielsen®.