Shopping For Environmental Causes
If you keep the environment in mind while shopping, your efforts are making a difference.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently tracked several environmental issues on behalf of the supermarket industry and found that consumers are changing their purchasing habits to help the environment. These findings should help change the way the industry does business.
The institute, a nonprofit research and education association based in Washington, D.C., has conducted similar surveys for the past 20 years. Its member companies operate nearly 20,000 retail food stores in the United States — from large multi-store chains to smaller independent supermarkets.
According to the survey:
— 30 percent of the surveyed shoppers said they already have refused to buy a product because of environmental concerns. And about one in seven shoppers has gone as far as joining an organized boycott against a particular product or store.
— Roughly 60 percent of the shoppers said they would be more likely to buy a product if the label said that the package was made from recycled materials.
— More than half of the shoppers probably or definitely would change supermarkets if a new store opened nearby that promoted environmentally safe products and practices.
The institute has distributed the results of this survey to retailers and manufacturers across the country in a report called, Trends — Consumer Attitudes and the Supermarket, 1991. Although FMI does not recommend changes based on the report, the industry does take notice.
“Supermarkets rely heavily on this information,” said Karen Brown, FMI’s vice president of communications. “It helps them understand their market, which is, of course, very customer-driven.”
This insight into the environmental concerns of customers will help supermarkets develop new programs and promotions, Brown said. In some cases, retailers will even develop new “house” brands based on these emerging shopping trends, she added.
The survey also revealed that nearly 50 percent of those surveyed have refused to buy products manufactured by companies whose policies they disagree with. Additionally, 74 percent said they recycle aluminum and 64 percent recycle newspapers. Just under half said they recycle glass and plastic.
As this study demonstrates, individuals can make a difference in the marketplace. If you haven’t been an environmental shopper, keep these statistics in mind the next time you head to the grocery store.