Local beats organic

Nine in 10 Americans describe themselves as Conscious Consumers, and have a stronger preference for labels touting specific ecological benefits than they do for the USDA’s organic label, according to New York City-based branding and marketing agency BBMG. Nearly half of the 2,007 respondents to a survey gave a strongly favorable response to qualities such as cruelty-free (46 percent), biodegradable (48 percent) and locally grown (45 percent), while only 26 percent gave the same approval to organic. “Enlightened Shoppers,” which the report defines as the 10 percent of consumers most likely to purchase ethical, sustainable goods, gave nearly double the number of favorable responses for eco-labeled goods, and 67 percent said they approve of organic. “It’s not just about choosing organic anymore,” said Mitch Baranowski, principal and co-founder of BBMG. “Determining whether or not a product is local has become more significant, demonstrating that relationships, trust and accountability are increasingly important when it comes to brand value.” Asked to name socially-responsible companies, respondents chose Whole Foods Market (22 percent); Newman’s Own (19 percent); Burt’s Bees (17 percent); General Electric (16 percent); Johnson & Johnson (16 percent) and Ben & Jerry’s (16 percent). Conscious Consumer Report http://www.fmi.org/docs/sustainability/BBMG_Conscious_Consumer_White_Paper.pdf