According to an ACNielsen and Natural Marketing Institute study (PDF), green consumers are willing to pay more for organic, natural or environmentally-friendly products compared to “non-green” consumers. The section of consumers termed “lifestyles of health and sustainability” or “LOHAS” spend the most on consumer packaged goods such as cereal, jelly, pasta, produce, soup and ready-to-serve prepared food despite the state of the economy.
“LOHAS” products represent a $209 billion industry, a number that is suspected to rise to $400 billion by 2010. Small brands are able to succeed in the face of such demand. According to Brandweek, Ian’s Natural Food’s is growing 45% annually while Nature’s Path Foods grew 30% in the first half of this year and plans to launch 15 new products. ACNielsen and NMI point out that there are still more categories (sports drinks, baking mixes, and syrups among them) that represent “opportunities for CPG manufacturers and retailers seeking to capture LOHAS consumers wallet.”
“Sustainability is here to stay, and clearly, our research shows that LOHAS consumers are important consumers for CPG manufacturers and retailers to attract to their brands and stores,” says Todd Hale, senior vice president, Consumer & Shopper Insights, The Nielsen Company. Using terms like “capturing wallets,” “LOHAS,” “CPG,” and even “consumer,” creates a big disconnect between business, people and food itself. But if there is going to a green transformation in the business world, starting with business language is going to be necessary. Having these products available to the masses is one step toward sustainability and seeing green businesses doing so well despite the economic turn is another plus.
But if a business creates an organic syrup because it knows it will fit your buying habits and “capture your wallet”, are you happy because you’ve got a sustainable product or are you a little put off? In the Brandweek article, Vita Soy director Pam Dietz says, “There is some brand loyalty [among organic foods] but not as much as you would hope.” Do you think it’s because they feel they’re being treated like consumers instead of people, like they’re being targeted for their wallets instead of being offered a sustainable product with a history and a message? Could the difference lead to lack of brand loyalty?