Three studies out recently are confirming what many supermarket executives already know: More consumers are looking for products making environmentally friendly claims, and will buy them provided they're not too expensive.
Research by Mintel shows that in 2007, there was a 200% increase in the global number of new “green” product introductions over the year before. Both the products themselves and the packaging were included in the results. The demand is forcing changes up and down the supply chain, the report noted. Not only are new raw materials required, but manufacturers have been forced to rethink their communication and marketing strategies that highlight the new aspects of these products.
Mintel also discovered that certain categories are emerging as leaders. Shoppers are looking for eco-products most in household paper products and food.
There seems to be little resistant to increased prices for green items. Another study, this one by DoubleClick Performics, found that given the choice between two similar products, a clear majority — 83% — would choose those that are environmentally friendly.
“Not only are consumers interested in green products and companies, our survey shows that nearly half of them are willing to pay at least 5% more for them,” said Stuart Larkins, a senior vice president at the digital marketing firm.
The study suggested retailers should include relevant environmentally conscious information throughout their paid and natural search campaigns, affiliate promotions, display ads and email, as many consumers are spending more time online both researching and purchasing products.
Supermarkets are an important part of this growth. A third report, issued by Information Resources Inc., found that over the past year, the grocery channel has secured sizable share gains among sustainability-driven consumers. Among the key contributing factors was the broader availability of organic products within grocery. The IRI researchers predict that this growth will likely continue as retailers implement more consumer-focused sustainability initiatives, such as the sustainability and awareness campaign launched last year by Wal-Mart Stores.