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More shoppers are prioritizing food nutrition and sustainability, and they're turning to their local natural stores for information and education. Here's how retailers can meet their demands.

Melissa Kvidahl Reilly, Writer/Editor

October 17, 2014

2 Min Read
3 ways to capitalize on the conscious consumer trend

Good news for natural food stores and brands: On average, Americans are willing to spend 31 percent more each week on healthy foods that are produced in ways that align with their social and environmental values.

That’s according to Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications’ new Conscious Consumer Study, which surveyed the buying habits of over 2,000 American shoppers. It found that consumers are taking a closer look at every aspect of the supply chain, starting with a company’s business practices.

  • Ultimately, nearly 75 percent of shoppers said they would switch from a trusted brand if they find out it harms animal welfare or engages in irresponsible labor practices.

  • At the shelf, 88 percent of shoppers consider nutritional content important in buying decisions, but also weigh food safety (87 percent) and sustainable packaging (roughly 73 percent) before committing to a purchase.

  • The biggest opportunity for retailers lies in educating shoppers about issues that matter to them. In fact, 66 percent of shoppers indicate that information supplied by food retailers is paramount to learning how companies can meet their demands for good health and advance the wellbeing of the planet.

“It’s Darwinian -- survival of the fittest -- and those companies that flourish are able to communicate resonant values consistently and transparently,” said Jeffrey R. Graubard, managing director of Gibbs-rbb, in a statement. Below are Graubard’s top three ways retailers can make the most of these exciting findings:

1. Engage shoppers directly. According to Graubard, shoppers are eschewing ads and third-party social media discussions in favor of information retailers provide directly through newsletters, circulars, websites, and news releases. “Natural food retailers need to be sure they are sharing their stories directly and helping customers engage with their brand,” he added.

2. Focus on food waste. Since 78 percent of shoppers surveyed say they consider food waste important when making a purchase decision, retailers are wise to communicate how they avoid waste. “Retailers can also look for opportunities to help ensure customers enjoy their product before it expires and ends up in the trash can or compost pile,” he advised.

3. Keep the conversation going. “There’s a great market potential for brands that appeal to Conscious Consumers,” Graubard said. “Companies that effectively communicate their positive contributions to the environment and society are likely to be rewarded with additional rings at the checkout line.”

About the Author(s)

Melissa Kvidahl Reilly


Melissa Kvidahl Reilly is a freelance writer and editor with 10 years of experience covering news and trends in the natural, organic and supplement markets. She lives and works in New Jersey.

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