Consumers Continue to Buy Natural Despite Difficult Economy

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Accord­ing to Mintel's lat­est report on green liv­ing, the envi­ron­ment remains a con­cern for the major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans. More than one-third (35%) of sur­vey respon­dents say they would pay more for ‘envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly' prod­ucts.

"Giv­en this increased inter­est in the envi­ron­ment over the past few years, near­ly every seg­ment of con­sumer prod­ucts now offers a ‘green' option for shop­pers," com­ments Chris Haack, Mintel senior ana­lyst. "Food and bev­er­age and per­son­al care are the two most mature cat­e­gories* and account for the major­i­ty of green prod­ucts in the mar­ket­place."

Food and Bev­er­age

After rapid sales growth of more than 24% from 2006-08, the nat­ur­al and organ­ic food and bev­er­age cat­e­go­ry saw only slight growth in 2009 (1.8%) as the reces­sion took its toll on near­ly every sec­tor of the con­sumer goods mar­ket­place. Despite this stall, sales in this seg­ment are fore­cast to grow near­ly 20% from 2010 to 2012.

Only 21% of organ­ic food buy­ers have cut down or elim­i­nat­ed organ­ic pur­chas­ing, while 20% have switched to less expen­sive organ­ic options. Mean­while, near­ly half (48%) are buy­ing as much or more organ­ic food than before the reces­sion. This sug­gests that organ­ic food is a core lifestyle ele­ment for many peo­ple who may make cuts in oth­er areas of their bud­get before they will turn away from organ­ics.

Per­son­al Care

Sales of green per­son­al care prod­ucts increased by 18% from 2006-08 and sim­i­lar to food and bev­er­age, saw only a slight incline in 2009 (1.2%). This seg­ment is poised to resume rapid growth once con­sumer spend­ing begins to recov­er from the cur­rent down­turn. One-third of all con­sumers have nev­er tried organ­ic or nat­ur­al per­son­al care prod­ucts, sug­gest­ing that there is plen­ty of room for growth in this mar­ket.

Accord­ing to Mintel's Glob­al New Prod­uct Data­base (GNPD), new prod­ucts with an organ­ic or nat­ur­al claim only encom­passed 5% of all beau­ty and per­son­al care prod­uct launch­es in 2006 but increased to near­ly 10% in 2008 and held steady through 2009. Accord­ing to Chris Haack, "we expect to see a grow­ing trend toward upscale green per­son­al care prod­ucts tar­get­ed to spas, salons and oth­er high-end retail out­lets in the com­ing years."

"Are Amer­i­cans Will­ing to pay more green to get more green?" Mintel. 25 Mar. 2010.  Web.  5 Apr. 2010.