Consumers are concerned about chemicals in products, but their search for natural alternatives is lagging

Consumers are concerned about chemicals in products, but their search for natural alternatives is lagging

For a number of years, our Eco Pulse studies have tracked increasing concern about chemical content in a variety of non-food products.

This concern, while obviously rooted in health and safety fears, varies by category and is generally vague and uninformed.

For example, this year concern about chemicals found in skin care and cosmetic products increased 10 percentage points to 54 percent, and almost half of respondents claim to be searching for more natural alternatives in this category.

But only 18 percent say they’re regularly buying natural alternatives  ‒ and this number hasn’t changed in three years.

This category is under-performing because many consumers are unaware that there is content to be concerned about. And even those who are concerned about this issue struggle with knowing what chemicals to avoid.

Ultimately, we’re not seeing significant increases in green product purchasing in the categories that pose the biggest health threats, and we think that lack of knowledge is what’s limiting growth.

It may be time for green product manufacturers to increase consumer awareness about the potential health impact of chemical emissions.

Green personal care product and cosmetic manufacturers could join together to wake women up to the fact that there are petrochemicals and other toxins in most of the products they buy.

Companies like Seventh Generation that are using “Plants Not Petroleum” positioning are on the right track. The tagline educates, as well as differentiates.

And it doesn’t use scare tactics that make consumers tune the message out.

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Posted on

July 17, 2013

About the Author

Becky Lohr

Becky is Associate Research Director, responsible for overseeing the data collection and statistical analysis of all custom primary research for clients and proprietary in-house research projects. She’s a great shot with a bow.

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