You want to buy organic food whenever possible. You skillfully navigate the supermarket cart to the organic Honeycrisps and Pink Ladies, and away from the lord-only-knows-what-they-spray-on-these apples. And you take pride in the fact that you're saving the environment as much as you're protecting your own insides when purchasing pesticide-free produce. Your friends and family do the same. Newsflash: There are fewer of you than you imagined.
A study published in the Journal of Food Products Marketing took a close look at who's really buying organic food and found that organic milk—which may seem ubiquitous—is actually sold in only 35 percent of Manhattan stores. And only five grocery staples were found in 10 percent or more of stores: eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk and packaged lettuce.
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Sales, it turns out, depend on much more than just awareness of, and interest in, consuming organic products. Key factors include the neighborhood's "socioeconomic characteristics," the amount of organic food for sale, the size of the store, and, most critically, price. Organic food always costs more—anywhere from 20 percent more (for lettuce) to 173 percent more (for beef).