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Eco Products. As a Retailer… Should You REALLY Care?

Yes, you should. Nice and simple. OK, for those who won’t just take my word for it, coming up are 559 more words by way of justification.

Matt Stanton - Head of Insight

4 Minutes

/ 1st June 2022
  • Sales & Distribution

Yes, you should. Nice and simple.

OK, for those who won’t just take my word for it, coming up are 559 more words by way of justification.

Firstly, let’s establish exactly what I mean. The question I’m answering is, “Will stocking eco-friendly products help you grow your business?”

There has been lots of hype about dedicated eco brands over the past few years, particularly in the household and laundry category. The products are usually more expensive than their planet-killing* counterparts, and many shoppers are torn – should they pay the extra? Lots are doing so; the top 20 eco-focused brands are growing faster than the rest of the FMCG market, and many of these purpose-led brands are increasing their market share despite, in some cases, a significant price premium.

Insight from Kantar shows that the proportion of the UK population who are considered ‘Eco-Actives’ (those who are highly concerned about the environment and feel an intrinsic responsibility to be more sustainable) is increasing, with three out of ten people identifying as being part of this group, up significantly since 2019. Likewise, the proportion identifying as ‘Eco-Dismissers’ is decreasing, albeit Kantar shows this group still makes up three in ten people. The remainder is classed by Kantar as ‘Eco-Considerers’ – those who are worried about their impact on the environment but who actually do little to reduce it, usually because price and convenience are more important.1

You should bear these three groups of people in mind – Actives, Considerers and Dismissers – when constructing your product range. The dedicated eco-friendly brands, such as Method and eCover, are aimed squarely at the Eco-Actives, so it’s clear that you need these products on shelf if you’re looking to appeal to these shoppers. But how to attract the Eco-Considerers? Fortunately, the big-name brands have got you covered. Many of the market-leading brands, such as Persil and Ariel, are doing a considerable amount behind the scenes and investing immense sums of money into R&D to make their products more sustainable. Many are also promoting energy saving in other ways, such as prompting people to wash clothes at lower temperatures – important because heating the water is a huge driver of the total amount of energy used. This ticks the box for Eco-Considerers because they can mostly address their worries without compromising on price, convenience, or any other barriers that stand in their way.

So, in short, stock the dedicated eco brands to attract highly engaged shoppers, and the big-name brands for those who are less well decided. Eco-credentials do not sway eco-Dismissers, so you’re back to the regular considerations for these shoppers (and these vary from category to category).

Having said all that… it’s not just a retailer’s product range that eco-savvy shoppers are scrutinising. A retailer’s efforts to minimise food waste, stocking fruit and veg without plastic packaging and the presence of a recycling station in-store are all key drivers that will sway favour towards a particular store. Also high up on the list is locality – many shoppers are considering the environmental impact of their journey to the store, and walking or cycling will clearly have the lowest impact. This is a tad more difficult to do anything about – it’s pretty challenging to pick your store up and put it somewhere else – but it’s is good news for convenience stores and retailers on local high streets, and it ties in with the ongoing trend of supporting local businesses, which originally emerged during the pandemic.

So there you have it… some compelling reasons for stocking eco-friendly products in your store. Exact product ranges will vary depending on what type of retailer you are, but the principle is clear – stock purpose-led brands for the shoppers most engaged in improving their sustainability and the market-leading brands for those shoppers who are still on the fence. That covers 70% of the shoppers in your store, and the remaining 30% are a topic for another day…

* this is an exaggeration


1: Kantar, Europanel, GfK - Who Cares, Who Does 2021?