U.S. consumers are changing the criteria they consider at the grocery store, valuing locally grown products over organic, according to the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report. This new national consumer study on purchasing behavior and social values found that adults have a strongly favorable response to eco-labels and attributes including biodegradable (48% strongly favorable), cruelty free (46%), and locally grown (45%), a measure that falls dramatically for USDA Organic (26%).
The BBMG Conscious Consumer Report also found that "Enlighteneds," the 10% of adult consumers who are most likely to purchase from companies that engage in socially responsible behaviors, are three times more likely than the average consumer to be early adopters, signaling that eco-friendly and local products will continue to gain an edge. Compared to average consumers, Enlighteneds expressed nearly double the strongly favorable responses for eco-labels like biodegradable (88% strongly favorable), cruelty free (87%), locally grown (85%) and USDA Organic (67%).
Consumers still say quality and price are paramount (66% say quality is very important, and 58% say price is very important). But Enlighteneds do as well, placing a much higher premium on quality (83% say it's very important) and price (69% very important) than average consumers.
"Consumers are more aware of the impact that their purchasing decisions have, and in every sector we're seeing values-driven criteria becoming part of consumers' decision-making process," said Mitch Baranowski, principal and co-founder, BBMG. "It's not just about choosing organic anymore. Determining whether or not a product is local has become more significant, demonstrating that relationships, trust and accountability are increasingly important when it comes to brand value."
Baranowski added, "There is no place where the trend toward localism is more evident than in America's supermarkets, where consumers are making the everyday purchases that have the greatest impact on their own health and households."
The BBMG Conscious Consumer Report details consumer attitudes towards leading social issues, trust labels, self-identification, corporate practices and the most socially responsible companies. Conducted by branding and marketing agency BBMG, in conjunction with research partners Global Strategy Group and Bagatto, the report combines ethnographic research in three U.S. markets with a national survey of 2,007 adults, conducted September 11-17, 2007. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 percentage points.