Morgan Bast's Blog

Consumers willing to sacrifice to buy organic, eco-friendly products

American shoppers are willing to pay more for eco-friendly and organic products, according to a new report from Chicago-based market research firm Mintel. The company’s report on green living also highlighted growth areas in the organic and natural grocery and personal care world.

As a consumer, I’m one of those green-minded people who are willing to pay more for a product I think is good for my body, my community and my planet. Labeling that touts sustainable business practices, recycled materials and anything with the words “local,” “organic” or “free trade,” on it piques my interest and empties my wallet. With this news from Mintel, now I know I’m not alone.

“More than one-third (35 percent) of survey respondents say they would pay more for ‘environmentally friendly’ products,” Mintel reported in a press release. Even in hard times in 2009, people refused to abandon their organic purchasing habits, representing what Mintel calls a “core lifestyle element for many people.”

These lifestyle choices aren’t going to disappear any time soon, either. Forty-eight percent of organic food shoppers are buying as much or more organic food than before the recession, and Mintel predicts sales in this segment to grow nearly 20 percent from now until 2012. Sales of “green” personal care products saw only a slight increase in 2009 (1.2 percent), but according to Mintel, this category is poised for rapid growth. One-third of all consumers have never tried organic or natural personal care products, leaving plenty of room to expand.

For those retailers that weathered the economic storm in 2009, this news holds a lot of promise for the coming years. There are more consumers like me out there looking to spend our dollars in places that carry products we believe in. Places that could be your store.

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