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Green consumers.

Even in a stagnating economy, the "green consumer" is far from an endangered species. Many American corporations consider environmentally-aware buyers an appropriate target market, and this growing movement is having a widespread impact on the food and beverage industries, according to a new report by leading business research firm FIND/SVP.

"Concern for the environment is no longer the bailiwick of a band of underfinanced idealists as it was 20 years ago," says Peter Allen, FIND/SVP's Vice President, Market Research Reports. "It is now the hue and cry of a highly-respected, well-financed, and professionally-managed international movement."

"We remain convinced of the staying power of green consumerism in America today," Allen adds. "In fact, 52% of all households are expected to buy green by the end of 1995."

Consumer concern about solid waste is primarily focused on overpackaging. According to a recent survey, the number of individuals who would pass up products because of their negative impact on the environment has increased to 61%; yet, fewer people are currently willing to pay more for environmentally-safe products.

Industry-specific issues

Green consumers are particularly interested in the production and processing of food. The $1.25 billion organic food market has grown at a rate of 40% a year. Up to 84% of consumers have expressed a preference for pesticide-free, organically grown fruits and vegetables.

Meat consumption in the U.S., which decreased approximately 15% between 1970 and 1990, is expected to reach an all-time per capita low of 102 pounds by the year 2000. This decline reflects health concerns regarding fats in the diet, as well as environmental issues related to livestock farming.

Poultry consumption has actually increased to 49.3 pounds per capita in 1990. Per capita dairy consumption is also expected to rise, reaching 585 pounds by the year 2000. Lowat products should outsell whole milk items by approximately two to one.

Public worry about toxic chemicals in groundwater resulted in phenomenal growth in the bottled water market, which reached $2.6 billion in 1990. However, sales of bottled water are expected to decline gradually.

Alcoholic beverages are also projected to decrease in popularity. At the same time, preference for soft drinks will continue to rise, with caffeine-free, sugar-free, and diet drinks gaining greater shares of the market.

Foodservice industry sales rose to $226.5 billion. Many supermarket chains have made concrete efforts to satisfy green consumers by introducing practices such as promoting earth-friendly products.

Pioneering Players

Major corporations that have expressed commitment to ecological and health concerns include: Heinz, Ben & Jerry's, Melitta, Procter and Gamble, Kellogg, Beech-Nut, Campbell Soup, and Kraft. Small companies, such as Earth's Best, are also beginning to address green consumer issues.

However, "without a more thorough, scientific approach to assessing environmental impact, the industry's claims of environmental correctness will be seen as nothing more than clever marketing parlance by skeptical consumers," notes Allen.

The 260-page report, The Impact of Green Consumerism on the Food and Beverage Industries, is priced at $1,650, and is available from FIND/SVP, Dept. E5A, 625 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Frozen Food Digest, Inc.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:environmentally aware consumers
Publication:Frozen Food Digest
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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