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Consumers Love Meat, Hate Cruelty, and Don’t Worry Much about Straws, Survey Shows

While the impact plastic straws have on the environment has gotten a lot of attention in recent months, it’s not actually a big concern for consumers in the US – at least according to the responses of more than 2,000 consumers polled in 25 cities across the US.

The survey, from Crestline Custom Promotional Products, also indicated that “organic” labels aren’t a huge consideration for consumers, but that “non-toxic” and “cruelty-free” labels are. Overall, more than 80% of people said they would stop supporting their favorite brand if it did something that hurt the environment.

More Findings

The survey found that more than 68% of Americans want to use their power as consumers to support companies that share their social, political and environmental values. Only 9.4% are uninterested in the ethics of the companies they buy from.

  • Women care slightly more about corporate social responsibility than men.
  • Liberals care more about business practices than conservatives.
  • Spending even a single day on a college campus greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll want to influence society through your purchasing decisions.
  • Age is not a significant factor in how people feel about a business’ social and political policies. There was no statistically significant difference between the responses of Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.


While age does not seem to matter much, geography does:

  • Residents of Seattle and New York feel most strongly about corporate social responsibility, followed by those in Washington, DC, Charlotte, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale;
  • Residents of New Orleans care the least, along with consumers in Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Nashville.

Oh, the Guilt – but Not About Burgers…

When consumers were asked what they feel most guilty about, the most popular answer was “leaving the lights on in an empty room” and “throwing something recyclable in the trash.” Using plastic straws was was squarely in the middle of the pack in terms of shoppers’ guilt.

Consumers feel least guilty about using paper towels and eating meat.

And 45.1% of Americans often wish they could just buy what they like without feeling guilty or being judged.


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