Study sheds light on green consumers

Lisa Lazarczyk, who works closely with Mambo Sprouts Marketing, recently shared some interesting results with me from an online survey the company conducted. In analyzing the feedback they received from a group of health and natural product consumers, Lisa told me Mambo came away with three key conclusions concerning today’s green consumers: they are avid nutrition label readers, they are among the largest purchasers of gluten-free foods and increasingly they are seeking out products that incorporate environmentally-friendly packaging.


Some of the survey’s highlights include: 8 in 10 natural and organic consumers regularly read ingredient labels for health and nutrition content and were interested in buying functional foods with added health, nutrition and dietary benefits, with four in ten (39%) very interested in these types of specialty foods. Not surprisingly, organic ranked high with 65% of consumers reporting that they look for foods with organic ingredients. Low sodium ranked next (47%), followed by low fat/cholesterol (39%) and vegetarian items (31%). Functional food products with added calcium (44%), Omega 3 (44%), anti-oxidants (43%), probiotics/prebiotics (38%), and Vitamin D (30%) were also preferred.

When it came to interest in specific ingredient-free foods, one in three natural product consumers reported looking for allergen-free foods. Shoppers were most likely to report buying gluten free/wheat free items (25%), followed by dairy-free foods (9%) while fewer avoided soy (6%) or peanuts (4%). Bread was the most popular gluten-free product purchased by (59%), followed by cereal (56%), chips and snacks (54%), and pasta (46%).


Interestingly, when asked why they buy gluten-free foods, nearly half of gluten-free consumers surveyed said they believed gluten-free products were healthier for their family (43%). Another one in three (34%) had a household member with celiac disease or wheat intolerance or indicated that their favorite brands were gluten free already (36%).

Based on responses, packaging is playing an increasingly important role in purchasing decisions. Some 40% of respondents said they recently tried a new brand or switched brands, specifically because it had more earth-friendly packaging. Two in three bought products with recyclable packaging or packaging made of recycled materials (66%) and 44% bought products with compostable/biodegradable packaging.


Studies such as these, offer a number of valuable findings of which retailers would be wise to take note. For sure, retailers who incorporate these qualities and features in their natural and organic marketing efforts will be one step closer to earning consumer confidence and trust.


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