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Brief Published: 26 Sep 2013

Ethical Elite Grocery Shoppers


Sustainability is not a key concern for most US grocery shoppers, according to new research from global design research agency The Big Picture.

US consumers do not purchase sustainable products because these products are located in different aisles in US supermarkets, the report found. Many members of this consumer group fail to grasp the benefits of sustainable production.

The report classed German consumers as “ethical elites” with a strong focus on sustainability. Meanwhile, in Italy, sustainability is viewed “as an emerging trend, rather than an established driver”.

Stuart Costley, senior vice-president of The Big Picture, said in a statement: “In the US, while mainstream consumers are beginning to engage with organic produce, they have little or no desire to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, which is largely due to a lack of direct marketing by government and business to consumers, and the price premium often involved.”

He went on: “Brands clearly need to look at educating consumers on the benefits of choosing sustainable products.”

“Green marketing” has become less prominent since the start of the global economic crisis. However, new apps that rate restaurant sustainability and digital initiatives that help consumers source sustainable seafood are helping to counter this sense of apathy.