Consumers question organic prices, see label as excuse to charge more
By Jay Keller
Pollsters at Harris Interactive recently surveyed consumers about various green issues and the results show that consumers still care about the environment but their willingness to pay extra for organic food has diminished.
A majority of consumers believe that many retailers are using organic labels as an excuse to charge more for certain products, according to the new Harris Poll published on Monday, with six in 10 agreeing that labeling food or other products as “organic” was just a ploy.
With 80 percent of the respondents saying they would seek out green products, only 30 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for organic products.
“While Americans feel better about the economy, many are wary of the ‘greenwashing’ concept that gives companies a chance to cash in on consumers who want to help the planet but are confused by all the eco-friendly jargon,” Harris Poll President Mike de Vere said Monday in a statement.
Men are the most skeptical about organic labeling, according to the findings, with 63 percent saying it’s just an excuse to hike prices. At least 50 percent of women also agree with this statement.
Consumers are making the same amount of effort to be as green as they were a year ago, with 63 percent making the effort this year as compared to the 51 percent in 2009.
“What surprised us most was that while Americans are showing more concern for the environment, they aren’t necessarily willing to pay more to do anything about it,” de Vere added.
Researchers at Harris Interactive wanted to find out if the recent uptick in the economy gave people more reason to care about the environment as Earth Day approaches.
The survey found that concern for the current state and future of the planet is higher in 2013 than in 2012 but only 38 percent of respondents saying they cared a great deal.