Green shoppers are speaking with their dollars: Are you listening?

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If you’re not showing off your eco-friendly side, you may be losing customers. EcoFocus Worldwide reports that grocery shoppers are becoming increasingly concerned about the ingredients in their favorite foods.

Nearly half of shoppers have avoided purchasing products from companies, which do not follow social or environmental responsible practices. This worldwide interest in responsibly sourced and natural ingredients has fueled interest in Malaysian palm oil. Palm oil is the world’s first sustainable produced edible oil and Malaysia is the recognized leader in its responsible production. If acquiring more green shoppers is on your 2016 agenda, the Eco-Focus results can help guide your actions.

The EcoFocus Trend Study, conducted annually since 2010, measures the wellness and sustainability trends impacting the food and beverage industry. The 2015 study shows a significant increase in consumer interest in sustainable ingredients. In 2015, 74 percent of grocery shoppers between 18 and 65 years of age reported a company’s commitment to using certified sustainable ingredients as extremely or very influential to their purchase decisions. This is up six percent from the previous year.

To attract and retain these green shoppers, Eco-Focus Worldwide has the following recommendations for food and beverage manufacturers:

  • Clearly identify your eco-friendliness. Don’t limit this information to your website. It is important to include this on all packaging.
  • Use natural and non-GMO ingredients. Consumers clearly want these products, with 52 percent saying non-GMO verified is extremely or very important. Unlike commonly used seed oils, Malaysian sustainable palm oil is non-GMO.
  • Provide information on ingredient origin. More than half of shoppers say it is important to buy products from responsible countries. The Malaysian palm oil industry is a worldwide model for sustainable agriculture.
  • Share your corporate eco-commitments. Consumers are influenced by eco-certifications. Create opportunities to communicate the sustainability of your products’ ingredients.
  • Fulfill shoppers’ demand for better nutrition. Consumers’ desire for more healthful products can be satisfied by using Malaysian palm oil. The natural trans fat-free oil is rich in vitamin E tocotrienols and has no adverse impact on blood cholesterol levels.
  • Recognize that shoppers are driving change. Shoppers’ demand for natural, sustainable and healthful products will continue to change food industry practices.

Linda Gilber is the founder and CEO of EcoFocus Worldwide.

Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 11/09/15

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