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More consumers are shopping with the environment in mind

A study shows consumers are changing what they buy and how they shop because of environmental concerns. 

Jen Walsh with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin says consumers perceive some common food products negatively affect the environment. “So, bottled water is really seen as having the biggest negative impacts on the environment, of course, all of those plastic bottles. Beef is next. Then we see dairy milk and cheese.”

Walsh says research by NYU Sterns School of Business and IRI shows what retail sales reveal about sustainable product sales compared to their conventionally produced counterparts.  She says it’s a small part of the market now, but it is growing rapidly. “And, what they found is those sustainable products comprised only 16% of market share. Those sustainable products represent nearly 55% of the growth at retail.”

Walsh says sustainable products grew seven times faster than conventionally produced products from 2017 to 2019, and that’s also true for the dairy segment, despite the cost of sustainable products averaging 39% higher. “Even in the world of dairy, so cheese that is marketed as sustainable looks to be growing about twice as fast as the cheese category overall. Maybe not quite as dramatic a difference in yogurt and milk between sustainable and conventional, but still here, sustainable is growing faster.”

She says the research shows consumers are putting their money where their values are and the proof is found in the success of brands like Imperfect Foods, Who Gives A Crap recycled bamboo toilet paper, and Native Shoes.

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