SOURCE: Packaged Facts

Packaged Facts

October 05, 2009 10:52 ET

Despite Recession, the Market for "Ethical" Consumer Products Remains Healthy

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 5, 2009) - The market for products positioned and marketed on the basis of ethical standards (eco-friendly/green, natural/organic, humane, and fair trade) is thriving despite the recession, reveals a new report by leading market research publisher Packaged Facts.

Based on data from a proprietary survey, the recently released "Ethical Food and Beverage, Personal Care and Household Products in the U.S.; Conscientious Consumerism and Corporate Responsibility in the New Economy, 2nd Edition," indicates that one-fourth of U.S. adult shoppers frequently purchase certified organic food or beverage products and one-third are usually willing to pay more for organic foods.

"With the economy foremost in consumers' minds, heightened price sensitivity in the midst of the current recession is inevitably having an effect on the market for ethical products," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. "However, our survey indicates that more shoppers understand the environmental, social, and economic implications of their choices. The result is a sizeable number of consumers who will purchase typically more expensive ethical products even in economically challenging times."

The U.S. market for ethical products has annually grown in the high single- to low double-digits over the past five years, according to the report. Packaged Facts forecasts the growth rate will persist despite the recession and the market will approach $62 billion in 2014, up from a projected $38 billion in 2009.

Foods and beverages dominate retail sales of ethical consumer products in the U.S., accounting for nearly 75% of retail dollars through all channels in 2009. Non-food products -- mainly personal care and household products -- represent the remaining quarter. However, through 2014, Packaged Facts projects that non-foods will grow at a considerably faster pace than food, with an 80% versus 57% growth rate. Nevertheless, non-foods will still represent a smaller portion of the overall market.

Tapping into the trend are major marketers and retailers who are offering more ethical products, upping their corporate responsibility efforts through energy-efficient "green" facilities and sustainable business practices, and increasing their cause-related marketing efforts. Meanwhile, supermarket chains are entering the fray by developing private-label lines of organic foods and natural household products.

"Ethical Food and Beverage, Personal Care and Household Products in the U.S., 2nd Edition" analyzes the attitudes and demographic characteristics of ethical product purchasers through the examination of key issues and trends affecting the marketplace across two classifications -- foods & beverages and non-food products -- with the latter defined as encompassing personal care products (cosmetics, skin care, hair care, etc.) and household products (paper goods, diapers, detergents, cleaning products, light bulbs, etc.). Coverage includes historical and projected retail sales estimates from 2005-2014, case studies of key marketers and retailers, and trends in new product development and competitive positioning. For further information, please visit:

About Packaged Facts -- Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. To learn more, visit: Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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