The USDA’s organic label was the least important label for American consumers, according to a new survey of 2,121 people in 25 U.S. cities conducted by Crestline a unit of Lewiston, Maine-based Geiger Bros., the nation’s largest family-owned promotional product distributor.
The online survey, which asked how different issues guide consumers’ buying habits, asked respondents about 11 common product claims, and specifically, how important the following labels or claims were on a scale of 1-5:
- Non-toxic – 4.09
- Cruelty-free/Not tested on animals – 3.68
- Antibiotic/Hormone-free – 3.53
- No artificial ingredients – 3.46
- Free range/Cage-free – 3.30
- Locally sourced – 3.26
- Small business, locally owned – 3.21
- Fair trade – 3.18
- Made in America – 3.04
- Non-GMO – 2.98
- Organic – 2.96
Meanwhile, the survey said most people said they regularly pay up to 10 percent more for goods that are ethically produced, better for the environment, or made by a company that shares their values.
When asked what their primary motivation was for paying extra, 37 percent said “it makes me feel good” and 63 percent said “I believe it makes a difference.”
Most consumers have also boycotted businesses because of behavior they disapprove of. The most common reasons for boycotts were harming the environment or treating employees unfairly.
Have you ever changed your buying habits because you learned that a business was doing the following?:
The survey also found that 45.1 percent of Americans often wish they could just buy what they like without feeling guilty or being judged.
See the full survey results here.