Price is important when it comes to buying organic products, but today’s consumer is influenced by other factors when filling up their shopping cart.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) 2018 State of Sustainability in America, 16th Annual Consumer Insights & Trendsreport, about two thirds of today’s organic shoppers say that price guides their selections.

The remaining third – made up of two demographic groups: Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) and millennials, say they don’t mind spending that extra 15 to 20%  for products, if other factors are satisfied, notably environmental factors and how workers are treated.

In fact, today’s millennial will spend the extra dollars on the organic chicken or chick peas if the product meets certain sustainability criteria as well, including eco-friendly labeling and humane working conditions.

This is a relatively new trend for millennials, however. Says Steve French, managing partner, NMI, data shows an uptick in millennials’ extra spending in 2012.  That’s when they began to come of age and hit their stride.  “They’d worked a couple of jobs, and drastically increased their income by doing so. Those income and lifestyle changes allowed them to not live day-by-day, but to make more value decisions,” French said.

The result is an alignment of values, morals and ethics, and a brand that aligns with that, he says.

Some other takeaways from the in-depth report include the following:
  • More than one-third (33%) of respondents said that coupons influenced their buying decisions.
  • Almost one third (29%) of millennials and 18-to-19 year olds said that friend and relative testimonials influenced them. Samples and environmental package labeling was also important to this group.
  • Television played a big role in purchasing decisions most prominently among Gen-Xers.
  • Consumers not only want companies to be waste conscious by cutting down on packaging, but they want them to use packaging that is environmentally friendly.
The report also notes that consumers want product transparency, and brands that fulfill this demand by providing comprehensive information from sourcing, manufacturing and social cause efforts will move ahead.

But consumers need more education, researchers say. Many do not recognize seals and certifying organizations, or understand what they mean.

And finally, millennials continue to be a dominant force in the consumer landscape. They expect genuineness and transparency, value social networking, are highly influential and even expect to participate in product development so that companies ‘do it right’. Their sheer size alone coupled with their unique qualities are causing a whole realignment of how business is conducted. Companies need to stay attuned as no company can afford to ignore their enormous purchasing power.