Consumers Embrace Sustainability in Wellness Goals

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Consumers Embrace Sustainability in Wellness Goals

The food and beverage market is central to consumer perceptions of sustainability, according to a new cooperative report from Packaged Facts and The Hartman Group. The two groups unveiled the first market study published in the four-part series this week: Consumers and Sustainability: Food and Beverage.

When the consumption of sustainable foods is motivated by personal benefits, adoption mirrors a health and wellness progression in which consumers first consider the impacts of things in the body, followed by on the body, and finally around the body.

Sustainability consumers have modified their behavior in response to
economic hardship; however, tradeoffs and cutbacks are less likely to be
curtailed for products these consumers view as essential to their
quality of life, most notably in food. Marketers are responding by
upping the sustainability credentials of their private-label lines,
opening up another pathway to sustainable-at-a-discount shopping. At the
current intersection of sustainability awareness and financial downturn,
the market is ripe for food and beverage products that allow consumers
to shop more sustainably, but also spend less money.

Therefore, as consumers become more educated about the environmental,
social, and economic implications of foods and beverages, their health
and wellness motivations dovetail with societal concerns, such that food
shopping choices become salient to the four zones of sustainability:

* The Personal Benefit Zone
* The Environmental Zone
* The Social Zone
* The Economic Zone

"Consumers view the food and beverage category as key to sustainability,
perceiving organic and locally grown foods, fair trade products and the
ethical treatment of animals as ways to positively impact their
community and the world," says Tatjana Meerman, Publisher of Packaged
Facts. "In addition, 'freshness,' although not technically contributing
to sustainability, is considered important because foods and beverages
that are closest to their natural state appear to have a direct
connection to the earth."

Consumers and Sustainability: Food and Beverage assesses the attitudes
and purchasing behaviors of consumers related to sustainability drawing
from an online survey of 1,856 U.S. adults consumers conducted in
September 2008 by The Hartman Group, as well as qualitative research on
sustainability in markets (Seattle, Dallas, and Columbus) during August
2008. The other three reports in the series will focus on: OTC
medications and supplements, personal care and household cleaners. For
further information, visit: