Cheap or Green? Eco-friendly Products Struggle for Marketshare

By Chanelle Havey Let's face it - we're all in a difficult position, holding thin wallets with no prospects of  getting any thicker any time soon. It’s not only the college kids pinching pennies these days. As we crunch numbers to get the minimum on our grocery list, the first items that seem to disappear are the organic and 'green' items. They're typically more expensive and the generic brands are good enough... right?


In this article from The New York Times, Szaky compares which products certain consumers are buying, and how it is affecting sales. In the image below, you can see that the generic brands are going up in sales not only because they are recognizable, but typically cheaper. Products that have always been eco-friendly such as Method and Seventh Generation are not being as affected by the economy. These types of products are bought by 'dark green' consumers that always have, and probably always will, remain loyal to buying only eco-friendly items. The mainstream products such as Clorox are the ones suffering. This is because the people who would buy the Clorox Green Works products try their best to help out, but with prices rising, they are not die hard eco-friendly consumers. Image So now it’s down to a tug-of-war between consumers and businesses. Big companies like Clorox are trying to help, but people can’t bite with their budget. P&G's chief executive, Robert A. McDonald, told the Wall Street Journal this spring that, “Our research suggests that about 15% of consumers are looking for a sustainable product and are willing to take trade-offs in that product.” That leaves quite a challenge for companies attempting to create more eco-friendly products. These lofty goals could mean reducing expenses in other areas of the company, such as labor. If more mainstream companies can find a way to reduce prices overall of green products, I’m sure people would go back to helping as much as they can. Or at least we’d hope.

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