Consumerism: The Industry

25 01 2007

By Derek Beres

One of the more prevalent, though slightly annoying, terms coined in the past few years has been “conscientious consumerism.” Like many ideas, it’s blade has two edges. It is a broad way of targeting consumers with healthy products and foods, promoting the notion that if you’re going to spend money somewhere, might as well do so in a way that’s environmentally supportive. The slice is that it creates a sudden surplus of people surprisingly “knowledgeable” about lavender, gingko biloba and charcoal ash because they read it on the side of a package. The other dangerous cut is the corporate rush to produce “organic” products, something the FDA is still not completely certain on.

Alas, industries are industries, and according to Ethical Consumers and Corporate Responsibility the market is projected to surpass $57 billion in sales in 2011 (while the sales sits at $33 billion after ’06). The study is telling of the cultural mindframe, one that is admittedly more conscious of the steps it is taking in supporting organic foods and products, even if willing to pay outlandish prices to do so. With the surplus of products, we could see a break in prices, but hopefully not quality, as time progresses. For one, if recent pushes to legalize the growing of industrial hemp ever passes in America, we may be able to buy a quality pair of pants for under $100. We can dream…

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