Sustainable Growth For Sustainable Products

In spite of some predictions that environmentally-friendly products and practices would fall by the wayside during the recession, reported in April that green marketing is showing itself to be somewhat recession-proof.

One study shows that so far in 2009 there have been more than 450 launches of package-goods products claiming to be sustainable, environmentally friendly or "eco-friendly."  If this rate continues for the rest of the year, we can expect to see three times as many ‘green’ launches as last year; 2008 itself witnessed more than double the number from 2007.

Consumers, too, appear to be continuing to buy sustainable lines in spite of the higher costs commonly associated with these products.  Sales of organic food, for example, are still continuing to grow, albeit not at such high rates as in previous years.  Similarly, sales at natural food stores climbed 10.9% last year to $4.2 billion which, despite some slowing in the fourth quarter, was still better than many of the top-performing major grocery retailers.

In a different market, $2 billion-plus global value brand Scott, which reaches one in three U.S. consumers, has a new product offering: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins and wipes made from 40% to 80% recycled content.  The launch of these new eco-friendly lines follows market research showing that its value-minded consumers still want to minimize the environmental impact of their purchase: 86% said they are interested and 41% said they are very interested in products with recycled content.

Similarly, K-C’s Huggies Pure & Natural diapers are currently being launched, and are positioned as having more natural ingredients and post-consumer content than other products.  Pre-launch, online buzz about the new product generated almost 200,000 requests for samples.

Whilst these are just a few of many possible examples which indicate that buyers are still very aware of – and concerned about – environmental issues, they demonstrate the potential of ‘going green’.

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