Consumers considering sustainability

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Approximately 50% of U.S. consumers consider at least one sustainability factor when selecting consumer packaged good items and choosing where to shop, according to a new survey from Information Resources, Inc.

"Sustainability has evolved from a niche segment concern to a major factor influencing purchasing and shopping behavior across a sizable consumer base," said Andrew Salzman, chief marketing officer at I.R.I. "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 U.S. market for sustainable products and packaging with the potential to mirror well-developed markets in Europe and Japan. U.S. retailers and manufacturers are beginning to respond to that demand."

The survey asked 22,000 U.S. consumers to determine the impact of sustainability features — organic, eco-friendly products, eco-friendly packaging and fair treatment of employees and suppliers — in their product and store selection. A fifth of respondents took at least two sustainability factors into account.

Other findings of the survey included that about 30% look for eco-friendly products and packaging in brand selection, up to one-fourth of respondents considered fair trade practices along with eco-friendly or organic considerations when selecting a shopping destination, and about 40% of consumers specifically searched for organic products.

"It’s a new reality that manufacturers and retailers will need to address with new products and unique assortments to tap into emerging growth potential," Mr. Salzman said. "Safeguarding the environment in whatever small way is becoming a consumer priority."

Mr. Salzman also said consumers over 55 are driving the trend, but the market is expected to expand to other consumer segments as more products become available.

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