Conscious Consumerism a growing trend - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Conscious Consumerism a growing trend

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If you love shopping and doing good for others join the crowd. A recent Nielsen poll suggests 45% of consumers say they are more likely to buy products backed by companies connected to mission initiatives.

What's on your mind when you grab your list and head to the store? Fox 5 Consumer Reporter Laura Evans takes a look at the growing trend called "Conscious Consumerism."

You can find anything and everything at your local store. Apples to air fresheners. Bread to brie. Coke to carrots, a-b-c to z.

Consumers pretty much have their pick when it comes to products that meet their daily needs.

But why do shoppers pick one product over another?

Quality was number one with the shoppers we spoke to.

Irwin Pernick says if "It looks healthy and fresh," he's buying it. While others looked for natural, organic ingredients.

Still another customer said, for him, it's "a combination of how good it is for you and how good it tastes."

But nowadays, shoppers' preferences are going beyond products that are good for them. They are looking at products that are good for others too.

Half of the 29,000 consumers across 58 countries polled by Nielsen said they'd be willing to pay more for a product if the company was involved in giving back.

David Simnick, CEO and co-founder of Soapbox Soaps says, " I believe consumers everywhere are starting to question where their products are sourced from, what are the ingredients, how this is making the world a better place."

Simnick and co-founder Dan Doll, began creating hope and change through their company Soapbox about three years ago and now operate missions in 15 countries.

Simnick explains how their donations work, "With our bar of soap we donate a bar of soap. With our liquid hand soap we donate a month of clean drinking water through a charity partner called Raincatcher. With our body wash we donate a year of vitamins through our NGO partner Vitamin Angels."

They hope... that their soap... will allow them to move from charity to empowerment.

"Every time we give we want to make it so that the need for us to be there goes away and that ultimately that community, that area is able to support themselves," Simnick says.

That support happens here at home too.

“We found out one of the top three requested items from homeless shelters are underwear, socks, and believe or not....soap," he continued.

Donating what they call "bars of hope” to shelters and food pantries opened the door to domestic giving campaigns for the company.

Kay Harper, a Whole Body Associate at the Whole Foods Market at Friendship Heights says, "Soapbox is actually one of my very favorite companies."

The Whole Foods Market at Friendship Heights carries Soapbox and says their customers come in with more than just a list.

"They like to know where things come from, they like to know companies are local and they also like to know if companies have some sort of volunteer or community service side to them," says Claire Bender, a Whole Foods Marketing Team Leader.

It's those products with a cause or aid mission component that Chief brand strategist Chris Lester says are taking down the traditional giants in the market.

He says, "This disruptive trend of smaller companies that are really about, companies that care about something. The companies that have entered the market quickly and are taking a tremendous market share they’ve made that message a part of their product."

It's a message that is resonating with consumers...shopping with a conscious and willing to spend a little more for products with altruistic roots.

Lester says, "This has really become a very motivating platform for many people looking to be more connected not only to their products but the impact of their products."

It's a connection that the Soapbox company is hoping more businesses will make.

"We don't want to be unique, we don't want to be the special standout. We would like to see every business do this," Simnick says.

It's a trend that continues to gain momentum as more and more consumers choose to put their money where their heart.

Simnick agrees, "And the big idea here is that you can use consumerism for an amazing force of good. I know I’m totally getting on my soapbox..pun intended 3,000 times..the giving is not us, the giving is the consumer. We are just the medium facilitating that relationship for them to make the world a better place. "

It's a consumer movement that may be changing the world one wash at a time.

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