Consumers Consider Sustainability When Picking CPG Brands

January 10, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | CPG & FMCG | Retail & E-Commerce

Approximately 50% of US 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., reports Environmental Leader.

The 22,000 US 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” – i.e., those taking at least two sustainability factors into account when making their selections.

“Sustainability has evolved from a niche segment concern to a major factor influencing purchasing and shopping behavior across a sizable consumer base,” said IRI CMO Andrew Salzman.

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“Our survey indicates that consumers are focused more and more on the social and environmental impact of their CPG purchases, creating a viable and growing US market for sustainable products and packaging with the potential to mirror well-developed markets in Europe and Japan.”

Among the results of the study:

  • Approximately 30% look for eco-friendly products and packaging in their brand selection.

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  • Up to one-quarter of those surveyed consider fair trade practices, along with eco-friendly or organic designations, when selecting a shopping destination.

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  • Nearly 40% of consumers search specifically for organic products.

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 2% of the total detergent market, the growing demand for biodegradable, non-toxic and plant-based products is reflected in a 66% 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, 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,” said 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 another recent survey.

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