Going Green Costs the Earth

Brits are snubbing ‘green’ and Fair Trade produce in order to save money, new research reveals.

The number of families buying high-cost sustainable products has dropped by over 25 per cent in the past 12 months alone.

Just 29 per cent of mums regularly buy ethical or sustainable products today if they cost more than standard products, compared with 37 per cent in 2009.

And only a handful are able to spend extra on ‘green’ produce, according to ‘Consumer Mums’, a quarterly report into modern mothers’ shopping habits.

But the report held good news for British farmers. A quarter of shoppers now consider locally-sourced food to be an ”extremely important’ aspect of their weekly shop.

Some 16 per cent also believe seasonal produce is worth buying, regardless of the extra cost.

A spokesman for market research company OnePoll, which compiled the report after surveying 2,500 British mums from its ‘MumPoll’ panel, dubbed the new breed of shoppers MAUDS – or mums actively using discounts.

He said: ”Prior to the recession, buying ‘green’ was the order of the day wherever possible.

”But the effect of the financial downturn means far fewer families are willing to part with extra money in order to buy green or Fair Trade produce.

”On the plus side, consumers – and, especially, MAUDS – are showing increased commitment to locally-sourced and seasonal produce.”

The report, published yesterday, shows that 37 per cent of mums regularly bought ethical products – such as sustainable and Fair Trade – before the recession took hold.

They were happy to do so, despite being more expensive than similar but ‘non-green’ products.

But between mid-2008 and late 2009, the number of shoppers buying ethical products dropped to 27 per cent.

This figure actually rose very slightly following the recession, and now stands at just 29 per cent.

According to the survey, only a fraction (11 per cent) of Brits who do buy ‘green’ are willing to pay 10 per cent more for it.

William Higham, Managing Director of OnePoll, added: ”Saving money in post-recession Britain is obviously more important than ever, and the results of this report show that ‘luxuries’ such as green products are the first in the firing line.”

OnePoll is a leading-edge market research company. Its online panel comprises well over 100,000 people in the UK alone.

It runs specialist panels MumPoll, YoungPoll and over-50s panel SilverPoll. It has run approximately 5,000 polls for 500 clients in the last three years.

Clients range across industries: from Kelloggs to Virgin Atlantic, NatWest to M&S.