WASHINGTON, D.C. —As millennials enter their parenting years, the impact on the nearly $50 billion organic market could be transformative.

“Exciting times lie ahead for the organic sector. This year's survey findings clearly show the positive relationship between organic and parenting,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), which released its annual consumer survey on Thursday about the organic attitude of U.S. families.

The study found a conscious link between organic and parenting, with baby food ranking as the top category respondents considered “extremely important” when buying organic. This surpassed the fruits and vegetables category for the first time in the history of the survey. Food targeted to kids was also ranked highly.

Indeed, the category was compelling enough to lure John Foraker, former president of Annie’s Homegrown, to join San Diego, CA-based Once Upon a Farm as CEO. Actress Jennifer Garner is new chief brand officer.

Only 25% of millennials in America are currently parents and OTA predicts in the next 10 to 15 years, 80% of the members of the largest consumer group in the U.S. will be moms and dads.

Today’s definition of a family includes a diverse combination of household members, and this year’s survey reflects that. The study segmented the population in three household composition categories: (1) Millennials without children, (2) Millennials with children and (3) Parents aged 36 – 64 years.

The heavy buyer of organic products who always or most of the time chooses organic is driven by a strong belief that selecting organic for their family makes them a better parent, the research revealed. The buyer is actively seeking out healthy, nutritious choices for themselves and their children and is much more likely to have been raised eating organic foods.

Concerns about the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on an individual’s health and the health of that individual’s children, along with the desire to avoid highly processed  foods and artificial ingredients for the family also top the reasons consumers buy organic.

Today’s organic buyers with children are already passing their organic habits on to the next generation, and so will the millennial parents-to-be, according to OTA.

Some 40% of millennials shop for groceries online, the survey revealed, and 20% of those surveyed said they like the quality of organic produce purchased online. Some 17% said online grocery shopping is a convenient and easy way to shop for organic, and 10% reported an increase in organic purchases because of online shopping.

As for how they get their information, millennial parents use online product reviews, blog posts and mobile apps more frequently with their device of choice the smartphone.

The OTA survey, conducted withKIWI Magazine, reflects responses of more than 1,800 households throughout the country. Responses were collected online between May 22, 2017, and June 7, 2017.