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May 14, 2019

Does Social Responsibility Sell?

Scott Cooter
Scott Cooter Creative Director / Senior Copywriter

Can social responsibility truly build sales for your brand? In a word, YES.

The latest Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility found that 49% of respondents were willing to pay a premium for products with high quality and safety standards (which they associated with strong sustainability practices). 46% said they’d walk away from brand names in order to buy environmentally-friendly products. 41% said they’d pay more for organic, all-natural and preservative-free products. And nearly a third (30%) were willing to pay more for socially responsible free-range, pasture-raised and humane products.

This new “healthy for me, healthy for the world” mentality is causing consumers to reevaluate what product claims on packaging actually mean, and shop accordingly. The vague animal welfare claim “Farm-Raised” has dropped 19% in importance as a purchase driver, while more specific claims like “grass fed” and “free range” have jumped 24% and 22%, respectively. *

As it turns out, social media chatter is helping drive awareness of how we treat and feed our food supply. Mentions of food transparency claims are climbing significantly, as quoted in the IRI Social Advantage report released in 2018. The chatter’s more specific, too: Non GMO had 5.9M mentions, up 123% over the year before. Animal Welfare & Feed had 4.4M mentions, up 231% vs YAGO. Grass Fed up 222% over YAGO at 2M mentions. And Cage Free/Free Range mentions are up 227% vs YAGO, at 1.9M.

How can you take advantage of the heightened interest in sustainable, humane and socially aware products? Let consumers know how you’re helping.

As a food manufacturer or brand, consider moving trending hot-button messaging up to the front panel of your packaging. Made with eggs, for instance? Switch to cage-free eggs, and add a “Made with Cage-Free Eggs” burst. It’s an easy way to upscale your products, add appeal, and differentiate yourself — and you’ll be in good company.

All Papa John’s, Taco Bell and Red Robin menu items containing eggs are 100% cage free, due to social pressure. Starbucks, Wawa & Panera Bread will follow suit by 2020. And most major food retailers have pledged to be cage free by 2025-2026.

So, if social awareness is the new purchase driver, it’s good to have all your eggs in one basket. As long as they’re cage free.

*Animal Welfare includes grass fed, free range, cage free, sustainable seafood, no antibiotics ever, certified humane, all vegetable diet, no animal bi-products. ©2018 Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Confidential and Proprietary.