EcoFocus Sustainability PLUS: paper keeps produce fresher

For mainstream Americans, sustainability means not making compromises. Its about saving money, better health, quality of life, improved performance, and more. Companies are most likely to find consumer success in the sweet spot where sustainability benefits intersect with other important consumer benefits.

FreshPaper from Fenugreen is a brilliant example of ‘Sustainability PLUS Freshness’ with a solution for reducing food waste and keeping produce fresh. The five-inch square compostable paper contains edible organic botanical extracts that inhibit bacterial and fungal growth and enzymatic action. When used in refrigerator drawers, cartons, bags and containers with produce, produce stays fresher up to 2 to 4 times longer. This is sustainable innovation in action!

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HBA Shoppers are Changing Brands to Make More Eco-Healthy Choices

HBA Shoppers are Changing Brands to Make More Eco-Healthy Choices
New research on the consumer market for sustainable personal care and cosmetic products was released by Linda Gilbert at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in New York this month. Gilbert is the founder and CEO of EcoFocus Worldwide, a major research group focused on pinpointing consumer sustainability trends and providing needed shopper insights and data for HBA manufacturers, marketers, and retailers.

According to the EcoFocus study, 85% of Americans ages 18-65 years are shopping with the environment in mind at least sometimes. Called Consumers Who Care™ by EcoFocus, almost half (48%, up 3 points since 2010) say it is important to choose green toiletries; and 33% say it is important to choose green cosmetics. As a result, they are rethinking their choices and often making new decisions with the environment in mind, including the brands they buy.

The study finds that these shoppers are especially willing to change brands to make a more eco-friendly choice: 67% of the Green HBA target, versus just 43% of Consumers Who Care overall. And, they will exercise their veto vote when shopping: about 2 in 3 have already avoided buying products upon learning the company is not acting responsibly – either socially or environmentally.

The Green HBA target shopper sees the value of green choices but affordability is still a barrier: more than six in ten agree it is worth paying more for eco-friendly products, but 73% wish they could buy environmentally friendly products more often but say they are “not affordable.”

A powerful part of the value proposition for these shoppers is better health: 86% of Green HBA women and 90% of Green HBA men associate better personal health with an eco-friendly lifestyle.

“This intersection of health and eco-friendly benefits is driving today’s Eco-Healthy Lifestyles trend,” says Gilbert. “This is a very compelling value proposition for shoppers and offers a sweet spot for success for eco-friendly products and communications in the HBA category.”

Gilbert says that for today’s consumers, Eco-Healthy Lifestyle choices mean limiting exposure to chemicals and toxins in their everyday lives. Already, 79% of Green HBA target shoppers have changed what they buy to reduce their exposure to chemicals.

Eco-Healthy Lifestyle choices also include ingredient sourcing considerations. Eight in ten Green HBA target shoppers say it is extremely or very important to buy products produced in environmentally responsible countries, and seven in ten put a priority on choosing organic products that are locally produced.

Responsible packaging is also a priority for Green HBA target shoppers: more than six in ten have already changed what they buy due to the type or amount of packaging. They want help from manufacturers: more than eight in ten say “manufacturers need to do a better job of telling me how to recycle or dispose of their packaging;” and, more than six in ten say “natural and organic products need to do a better job of packaging their products with recyclable materials.”

Recyclable, refillable and reusable packaging are the most desirable EcoFriendly solutions, followed by packaging made with recycled material. More than half try to avoid products that use double packaging such as a tube inside a box.

The Green HBA target shopper wants help from their retailers too. About 3 in 4 expect retailers to ensure that there are eco-friendly products on their shelves. About 3 in 5 agree it is important to shop at retail stores that do so.

The EcoFocus study offers brand owners, manufacturers, retailers, and their suppliers a new and personal look at Green HBA target shoppers, with rich insights for meeting the demands of these increasingly environmentally aware shoppers.

EcoFocus Worldwide, LLC conducted online interviews with more than 9,000 men and women ages 18-65 years in July 2010 and February 2012. The data is nationally projectable to the U.S. adult population and statistically valid at the 95% confidence level +/- 1.0%. The study will be fielded again in September 2012 and February 2013. For information about subscribing or including custom questions in the EcoFocus Trend Survey, please contact EcoFocus Worldwide.

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Shoppers Want EcoFriendly Grocery Stores; Sustainability Is a Growing Factor In Loyalty And Sales

Shoppers Want EcoFriendly Grocery Stores; Sustainability Is a Growing Factor In Loyalty And Sales
The results are in for a new groundbreaking study that looks at how consumers decide where to shop, and how retailers are now meeting – and can further meet – the demands of increasingly environmentally aware shoppers. EcoFocus Worldwide, a major research group focused on pinpointing consumer sustainability trends, has released a series of Retailer Toolkits to help you get closer to shoppers than ever before. Each Toolkit offers a new way to walk the aisles with that chain’s shoppers to see how they are rethinking shopping choices and often making new decisions with the environment in mind.

According to the EcoFocus study, 87% of U.S. grocery shoppers are shopping with the environment in mind at least sometimes. Called Consumers Who Care™ by EcoFocus, about one in two of these shoppers want their grocers to be “eco-friendly” and to “make it easy for me to make eco-friendly choices.” But how different retailers are performing for shoppers on these and nine other EcoFocus sustainability measures varies widely, with Publix often leading among the major chains, and Walmart, Meijer, and Winn Dixie lagging behind.

Already, 37% of U.S. Grocery shoppers agree it is important to shop at retailers who require that the products and brands sold in their stores are eco-friendly, and they are increasingly willing to avoid buying products when they’ve learned the manufacturer is not acting responsibly: either socially (48%, up 5 points since 2011) or environmentally (43%, up 3 points since 2011). While it is no surprise that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s shoppers are more likely to take these actions, it is surprising to see that shoppers at Ahold’s stores, Costco, Wegman’s, and the online retailers Quidsi and drugstore.com are also taking action in this regard more often than other shoppers.

Lisa Harrison, Consumer Research and Insights Leader at EcoFocus, says “the results strongly support the need for more and better communications by retailers to their shoppers. Too many retailers are not giving themselves credit for their eco-friendly activities and commitments. Many need to make it easy for their shoppers to find the eco-friendly brands and products on their shelves. The data clearly shows their shoppers’ priorities and what most impacts their purchases, often identifying hidden assets that can be leveraged for competitive advantages, enhanced shopper loyalty, and increased sales.”

The study findings are reported in a series of 34 EcoFocus Retailer Toolkits, each including 15 chain-specific Scorecards to empower shopper insight, sales, customer development, and category management teams with data and insights on shoppers at traditional grocery, natural, big box, and online retailers. Users gain a competitive edge with new data and shopper insights to:
 Build customer stories to bring shopper interests to life with shopper insights and trend data
 Put ammunition behind shoppers’ demand for green products and better communications
 Be the green expert with insights for opportunities to build or leverage sustainability assets

EcoFocus Worldwide, LLC conducted online interviews with 4,200 U.S. Grocery Shoppers ages 18-65 years at 31 major chains and 2 online retailers in January/February 2012. The data is nationally projectable to the U.S. adult population and statistically valid at the 95% confidence level +/- 1.4%.

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EcoAware Dad – In Person

Sean Lucey - an EcoAware Dad

As someone who works day to day for a business sustainability consulting and research company with its finger on the pulse of consumer perceptions and behaviors around green and sustainable issues, I naturally tend to view my own life as well as friends and family through this same lens.

On July 28, 2010 my second son, Liam Mason was born, and the whole eco-green thing suddenly became much more personal.  Along with the countless nights without sleep and droves of family members parading in, through and out of our home, I become an EcoAware Dad!

After about two weeks…I realized…I was taking a completely filled trash bag out to the big black city barrel at least once a day. Even worse, it was jammed full. Those sporty Flintstone tires would be getting a workout this week!

How can a family use that much trash in one day?  Diapers, paper plates, toiletries, empty boxes…and my one major pet peeve – my wife’s Zephyr Hills Spring water bottles.  Of course this was not “life as usual” but I began thinking about which things could and should be recycled, and what really belonged in the trash. And about what different product choices we could be making to cut back on this disposable avalanche.

Other thoughts also started popping up.  As I played “you turn the water off – I’ll turn it back on” with my 18 month son as we brushed our teeth, I thought…someone would have LOVED to have been given that wasted water as a cool and refreshing drink.  I think I just heard my Mothers’ voice from the past…”Someone is starving in India and you want to throw those delicious lima beans away?”

What I realized of course is that it’s easy to talk about being green and eco-conscious, but that as a parent it ‘s part of my job to make sure my boys grow up with a clear and concise picture of what a good citizenship of this Earth should be.  Time to walk the talk and make sure I am using my awareness to discover and create teaching moments.

Expect more from me on this topic!

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What’s Blue and Bigger than Green?

Sustainable kids

Mainstream consumers associate brighter colors with healthier environments, bluer skies and sparkling water with less pollution, and more beautiful living and recreational spaces with less garbage.

What’s Blue and Bigger than Green? This is a question that marketers and brand managers need to start asking themselves as new research from EcoFocus Worldwide is released. While marketers may be envisioning a “green” future for their brands, Americans are coloring the future with “blue”. The 2010 Trend Survey by EcoFocus Worldwide shows that being “green” is just a first step on the way to a more ambitious and sustainable “blue” for consumers. The research shows that for consumers green is here and now. It is often associated with compromise or being on a mission. Sustainability on the other hand, is enduring and associated with enjoying a bluer, brighter world. Mainstream consumers associate brighter colors with healthier environments, bluer skies and sparkling water with less pollution, and more beautiful living and recreational spaces with less garbage.
According to the Trend Survey, 84% of Americans agree that whether you believe in global warming or not, reducing waste and pollution is just common sense. In fact, over two thirds (69%) of Americans say they are ready to make their lifestyles more eco-friendly. They are very pragmatic and economically minded, with small steps and moderate changes being the common approaches for 53% of Americans.

Ironically, the worries of climate change or social responsibility hardly enter into this conversation for mainstream consumers. Consumers are not looking to brands for inspiration, they are looking for practical solutions. Marketers should not confuse responsible and ethical consumerism with mainstream consumer trends because for mainstream consumers the focus is on managing the consequences of consumerism. Brand managers need to:

• Look for ways to marry economic concerns with environmental interests
• Make it effortless (or at least easier) for the mainstream consumer to identify eco-friendly choices
• Focus on pollution and waste, more than climate change
• Focus on family first, and then the greater good.

The EcoFocus research reports that four out of five Americans surveyed agree that “a cleaner planet starts at home”. This means brand managers have to think about innovation that reaches beyond green and the goal of having as little impact as possible to the more ambitious goal of having a positive impact. Messages, products and packaging need to reflect Restore, Renew and Replenish (blue thinking) rather than just Recycle, Reduce, and Reuse (green thinking).

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