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The Rise of the Conscious Consumer


The Rise of the Conscious Consumer

3 Part Series. Part 1: Overview

Welcome to a three part series about  a more mindful consumer – the shopper who is increasingly putting the environment and their well-being before a bargain or fashion fad. 

As national health services buckle under the pressure of Government cuts and warnings of the damage being done to our planet grow increasingly more alarming, people are searching for new ways to respond to health and environmental issues. They’ve grown so much in our everyday consciousness that the Collins Dictionary lexicographers recently named ‘single-use’ as the word of the year after a four-fold rise in its use over 5 years.  

Retailers across the globe have noticed a marked difference in shopping habits of consumers. British Supermarket, Waitrose, recently released a report which provides insight from millions of purchases.  One of the biggest trends noted how a third of the UK’s population now have meat-free or meat-reduced diets. This includes 13% of Britons who now identify as vegan or vegetarian, and a further 21% as “flexitarian”, all in attempt to live better.

The National Wellness Institute in 1977 first defined the term ‘well-being’ as “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence”. But some 40 years later, the word has become a widely spread, fashionable hashtag. Nowadays, the industry is valued at $3.7 trillion, with $999 billion attributed to beauty and anti-ageing, $648 billion to healthy food, nutrition and weight loss, and $542 billion to fitness and mind-body therapies.

Meanwhile, the report found that 88% of people who saw the episode of BBC’s Blue Planet II regarding the effect of plastics on oceans have changed their behaviour as a result. 60% of consumers now choose a refillable water bottle and coffee cup, and Waitrose saw an 800% increase in questions about plastics from customers.

“Being mindful of how we live and eat has become a priority in today’s world,” Waitrose managing director Rob Collins said. “As we become increasingly mindful of our own health, the wellbeing of our family and that of the planet, we’re reshaping how we shop, cook and eat.

Over the 3 part series we will look at how some innovative retailers and lifestyle brands are responding to these changing demands.

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