Turning ethical shoppers into buyers

 These organic products earned a "Great" sustainable rating from HowGood.

These organic products earned a "Great" sustainable rating from HowGood.

Written by Jon Springer, Supermarket News

Calling attention to the sustainability benefits of products in stores is helping to turn shoppers with good intentions into buyers.

Moreover, the former group is growing behind the coming of age of the Millennial generation, noted Alexander Gillett, CEO of the sustainability ratings company HowGood, which maintains a database of 200,000 food product ratings based on metrics around environmental and social practices. Those products get “Good,” “Great” or “Best” ratings, which shoppers can find on an app or in stores through a shelf-tag program.

Store products shelf-tagged with HowGood’s “Best” rating are showing average sales lifts of 230% — with jumps as high as 1,000% in categories like baby food, illustrating an intense consumer demand among young shoppers for products that reflect their personal values, Gillett said. That performance, which Gillett noted was across all stores utilizing its shelf tags, is attracting the attention of retail stores like Ahold Delhaize’s Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop brands, each of which have added HowGood tags in stores this year.

Giant tested the tags initially in January and added them throughout the chain in August. This month, Stop & Shop began a test at four stores in Massachusetts.

Pointing out better products helps to bridge a gap between customers’ intentions to support sustainable choices and their ultimate actions, said Stacy Wiggins, SVP of operations for Stop & Shop.

“Our customers want to make the best choices for themselves, their families and the planet, but it can be overwhelming with so many product offerings available,” she said.

According to Gillett, a generation of shoppers who grew up with the internet have come to expect the same “radical transparency” they find in the virtual world in stores, and as a result have embraced a ratings system making it easy for them to distinguish between product attributes and influence buying decisions.

“You see an expectation from the younger generation to be able to believe in and support what they’re buying, and you see a growing expectation of that from other groups today,” Gillett said. “The more we get exposed to shopping on the internet and having more information on our fingertips, the more we expect that in other locations, and when you can provide that for people it can help them make a purchase.”

SOURCE: Supermarket News