Approximately 50 percent of U.S. consumers consider at least one sustainability factor in selecting consumer packaged goods items and choosing where to shop for those products, according to a survey conducted by Information Resources, Inc.
The 22,000 U.S. consumers surveyed were asked to determine the impact of four key sustainability features in their product and store selection-organic, eco-friendly products, eco-friendly packaging and fair treatment of employees and suppliers. One-fifth of those surveyed were determined to be “sustainability driven,” taking at least two sustainability factors into account when making their selections.
Among the results:
- Approximately 30 percent look for eco-friendly products and packaging in their brand selection,
- Up to one-quarter of those surveyed consider fair trade practices along with eco-friendly or organic designations in selecting a shopping destination,
- Nearly 40 percent of consumers search specifically for organic products,
Benefiting from the winning combination of a ‘better for you’ association and a ‘better for the environment’ attribute, the organic designation has moved to the front of consumer consciousness.Once dominated by niche manufacturers and specialty retailers, CPG industry leaders now maintain a sizable stake in the organics market and with leading retailers. This includes Safeway and Kroger with their highly successful organic private label lines. Several leading manufacturers are also beginning to offer organic versions of favorite products, such as Kraft’s organic Wheat Thins and Chips Ahoy.
Among non-food items, the IRI study highlights replacement of chemical-based items with eco-friendly products as an emerging sustainability category. One example is green laundry detergent. Though currently just two percent of the total detergent market, the growing demand for biodegradable, non-toxic and plant-based products is reflected in a 66 percent increase in green product sales during the past year within a category that has overall flat sales.
Whether motivated by the aim for healthier ingredients or a heightened environmental consciousness, the survey also underscores the fact that calls for sustainability cut across every consumer age group. Though contrary to assumptions that the focus on sustainability is a more youth-oriented phenomenon, IRI data shows that older consumers are actually the more likely audience to weigh multiple sustainability factors in their purchases.
“Consumers aged 55 and older are the real driving force behind this expansion,” says Salzman. “Generally, with the time to seek out specialty items and the resources to afford premium priced products, aging consumers are a critical target market today. As sustainable products and packaging become more widely available, we anticipate that the market will expand across consumer segments.”
Forty million boomers use their purchasing power to buy environmentally safe brands, according to a recent survey.