The growing ranks of conscious consumers is changing the world.
The global market for organic food and drink is estimated at some 19 billion Euros ($23 billion US billion dollars). Although production of organic crops is spreading worldwide, sales are still concentrated in North America and Western Europe. However, the organic market is growing quickly in countries like Brazil, South Africa and China, most likely due to an expanding upper class, some members of which are prepared to pay a little extra for higher quality and healthier alternatives.
These are a few of the results of studies conducted by Organic Monitor, the British market research group that charts sales of organic products worldwide. Striking results were seen in a recent study about the demand for organic food in Great Britain, the largest market for these products in Europe. Eighty percent of British babies and toddlers are now eating organic food “sometimes” or “often”. The Sainsbury’s supermarket chain has long since eliminated its line of non-organic products for its youngest customers. Over 1,000 organic products line the shelves of Sainsbury’s, making it the leader of the organic food market. Organic Monitor believes that these products have become a “trendy must buy for the middle class”. Chairman Amarjit Sahota claims that the market for organic products is “anything but a niche”.
And the number of potential customers is much higher. So says Frank Lampe, who launched LOHAS Journal, a magazine for businesspeople. LOHAS stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and represents a total market value in the U.S. of nearly $230 billion dollars. This includes goods and services that appeal to people prepared to pay for good health, a clean environment, social justice, personal development and a sustainable lifestyle. According to Lampe, this group totals 63 million people in the United States, or some 30% of the adult population.
What is interesting about these people is their growing awareness of the connection between politics, nature, and the global economy as well as the relationship between mind and body in achieving optimal personal growth. These are the people who recognize the importance of safe and healthy food and who are likely interested in such products as solar panels, ethical investments, acupuncture, hydrogen cars, nutritional supplements and eco-tourism.
LOHAS is the business world’s answer to a groundbreaking sociological study carried out by Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson. In their book The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World (Random House, 2000), they describe the quiet emergence of a new subculture that is rebelling against cynicism in politics, society and the media . A diverse group—young and old, black and white, higher and lower-educated, rich and poor, men and women—in which women are often the pioneers and opinion makers. A study conducted in Europe yielded similar results: around 30% to 35% of the residents of Western European countries can be counted among Cultural Creatives, who are paving the way towards a new culture.
In his message to businesspeople Lampe said, “The emergence of Cultural Creatives as market drivers is unparalleled in U.S. history. … These consumers are the future of your business and also the future of progressive social, environmental and economic change in this country. But their power as a consumer market remains virtually untapped.”