Published 4 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Image: Sustainably marketed coffee was one of many product categories to see a huge jump in sales | Equal Exchange
Seminal research shows that sustainability is driving market growth in CPGs; products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6x faster than conventionally marketed products, and 3.3x faster than the CPG market.
This week, the NYU Stern School of Business Center for Sustainable
and IRI® released the findings of a new
U.S.-based study and established the Sustainable Share
an in-depth analysis of consumer purchases of products that are marketed for
their sustainable attributes — the research finds that these products are
responsible for more than half of the growth in consumer packaged goods (CPGs)
The research conducted by the Center for Sustainable Business found that
sustainability-marketed products delivered 50.1 percent of market growth from
2013-2018, while representing 16.6 percent of the CPG market in dollar sales in 2018. To conduct the research, Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business partnered
with IRI, which contributed its comprehensive point-of-sale data on US consumer
purchases. The Center analyzed data from across 36 product categories,
representing approximately 40 percent of total CPG sales, excluding tobacco and
“Across industries, companies are beginning to recognize that sustainable
business is good business,” said Tensie Whelan, professor at NYU Stern and
founding director of Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business. “Results from this
research reinforce the idea that embracing sustainability leads to better
business results. We are excited to launch the Sustainable Share Index and look
forward to continuing our research in the years to come.”
Across all categories, sustainability-marketed products delivered
$113.9B in sales in 2018 — +29 percent vs. 2013 — and are expected to
grow to $140.5B by 2023, based on an extrapolation of the analysis.
Unlock customer insights on sustainability & your brand’s unique performance! Submit your brand (or any brand) into the 2024 annual study and receive unparalleled insights on customer perception of that brand’s performance. Benchmark how your customers rate your brand on social and environmental sustainability and overall brand trust, while seeing how your brand compares to others in the study. Space is limited! The deadline to become part of the study is January 15, 2024.
Products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6x faster than conventionally
marketed products, and 3.3x faster than the CPG market.
In over 90 percent of individual product categories examined, the growth of
sustainability-marketed products outpaced total category growth.
Sustainability-marketed products account for 16.6 percent share of market
($) in 2018, up from 14.3 percent in 2013.
Sustainable products have more than 20 percent category share in many food
categories, including natural cheese, salty snacks and coffee.
“CPG companies should take notice — the benefits of sustainability cannot be
ignored,” said Randi Kronthal-Sacco, senior scholar of Marketing and
Corporate Outreach at Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business, who led the
research initiative. “In fact, this groundbreaking research shows the
significant impact that sustainable products have on overall category growth.”
NYU Stern’s findings support a growing tidal wave of research pointing to the
business case not only for sustainable products, but for communicating those
attributes to consumers. More statistics have emerged from Pinterest, which
recently reported that “sustainable living” is the most searched
around sustainability among
(+69 percent since last year), while searches for “sustainable living for
beginners” are up 265 percent; and from Cone Communications, whose recent
research revealed a “purpose
for companies, showing that US consumers prioritize companies that are:
Responsible (86 percent)
Caring (85 percent)
Advocates for issues (81 percent)
Environmental stewards (79 percent)
Philanthropic (73 percent)
"IRI is pleased to partner with NYU Stern's Center for Sustainable Business on
this eye-opening study," said Robert I.
Tomei, president of Market and Shopper Intelligence at IRI. "The results of
this research show that sustainable products play a key role in consumer
decision-making and we know this is particularly important to Millennials and
Published Mar 13, 2019 6am EDT / 3am PDT / 10am GMT / 11am CET