Conscious Consumers: Putting Their Money Where Their Mouths Are

Conscious Consumers in the grocery store

The meteoric rise of the conscious consumer means grocers must take steps to align themselves with environmentally-sound practices and ensure their customers are aware of those efforts. And who, exactly, is that conscious consumer?

In a recent report on purchasing behavior and social values, marketing agency BBMG found nearly 9 in 10 Americans define themselves as conscious consumers. And, as the name implies, their purchasing considerations are more thoughtful than consumers of years past. For example, 90 percent are more likely to buy from companies manufacturing energy-efficient products.

“While consumers continue to prioritize personal and practical concerns like health, safety, price and quantity, they are also looking to make a difference in the world,” notes David Lubensky of Bagatto. “We see a trend toward ‘self-centered consciousness’ whereby consumers want companies to meet their personal needs and positively impact society.”

So, what else do your conscious consumers do? They:

  • Reward companies that are honest about processes and practices, authentic about products and accountable for their impact on the environment and larger society.
  • Seek standards and safeguards to ensure product quality.
  • Seek information about who made their products and where they’re coming from.
  • Are concerned about the world and doing their part to make it better, whether that means seeking environmentally-friendly products or rewarding fair labor practices.

So – knowing all this, what can you and your organization do in order to make sure your conscious consumers are happy?

  • Even small steps help. It’s okay to acknowledge your company has a way to go – we all do.
  • Recognize the importance of building trust with customers. That means establishing transparency about what you are – or aren’t – accomplishing from an environmental standpoint.
  • Understand conscious consumers care most about issues that directly affect them, such as safe drinking water, clean air and fair labor practices. When setting operational priorities and using limited resources, consider focusing on the practices and actions most likely to directly impact your target market.

“Smart marketers will meet conscious consumers where they are,” the study advises. “They will help companies back their eco-friendly promises with sincere socially responsible actions.”

We know that conscious consumers are thinking responsibly about how they get their food out of the store – in fact, between 7 and 10% of consumers now use reusable shopping bags. A way to meet these consumers where they are is by considering how their food gets into the store responsibly, as well. Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) are the best choice in terms of causing less environmental impact. A recent peer-reviewed study found that when comparing life cycles, RPCs produce 31 percent fewer carbon dioxide equivalents than corrugated boxes, generate 86 percent less solid waste, consume 80 percent less water and require 64 percent less energy overall. (That’s no small feat.) A switch to RPCs from corrugated boxes is also an opportunity to communicate your company’s dedication to sustainability directly to the consumer.

These facts are vital to your conscious consumer. As the Natural Marketing Institute predicts in its 2018 report about upcoming U.S. sustainability, “The sourcing and end life of packaging will become significantly more relevant as the product life cycle and waste impact are increasingly part of consumers’ purchase decisions.”

To learn more about how reusables can create more sustainable businesses, click here.

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