Consumer Study: Food, Apparel, & Pharmaceutical Industries Face Uphill Battle to Ensure Responsible Overseas Production
A survey of 1,123 US consumers shows significant concern about ethical and responsible production, particularly in food and beverage, clothing and footwear, and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. A study conducted by YouGov and GT Nexus shows 52% of consumers are willing to pay more for food or beverage products produced ethically and sustainably in the US, rather than less for items made overseas, where conditions may or may not match the ethical and sustainable codes of US production.
Other Key Findings
- 45% of consumers would pay more for responsibly produced clothing and footwear
- 44% of consumers would pay more for responsibly produced over-the-counter pharmaceuticals
- 38% of consumers would pay more for responsibly produced furniture
- 36% of consumers would pay more for responsibly produced cleaning supplies/toiletries
- 33% of consumers would pay more for responsibly produced smart phones & gadgets
- 25% of consumers actively sought out sourcing origin information when making their last purchase
- 30% of consumer said they would pay up to 5% more for clothing responsibly produced in the US
- 28% said they would pay up to 20% more for clothing produced responsibly in the US
The survey sheds light on a sensitive topic, particularly as the conversation around the Trans-Pacific Partnership stirs up controversy across industries, political parties, and countries. YouGov and GT Nexus surveyed another 1,000 US consumers to get their perspective around the impact of TPP.
“What Does the Average US Consumer Think About TPP?”
- 27% are more concerned about lower controls on the quality and safety of goods produced overseas than they are about any potential benefits to the economy, from TPP
- 14% think the positive impact TPP will have on the U.S. economy outweighs any potential concerns about the quality and safety of overseas production
- 43% don’t know enough about TPP to have a view on its impact
Twice as many US consumers are concerned about the negative impact to quality and safety standards from overseas produced goods, than those who expect a positive economic impact stemming from TPP. Combined with the overall study, there’s a clear line of concern from the American consumer about the production of goods. A significant portion of consumers are willing to pay more for products produced ethically and sustainably in the US out of concern about the ethical and sustainable standards of production overseas.
What does this mean for manufactures of consumer goods, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and apparel and footwear?
Major movements around product standards often arise from the consumer ranks. And in each of these industries, regulations have already been deployed. Many of these industries face a growing wave of laws around traceability, transparency, and responsibility in the global supply chain. What goes on behind the scenes on the production side of things is no longer “behind the scenes” – it is becoming front and center. Global supply chain transparency and visibility are becoming increasingly important – not only to sourcing executives, but to governments, investors, industry-regulators, and consumers. As consumer goods and pharmaceuticals companies continue to merge and stretch to find new ways of carving out growth in 2016, one of their top priorities should be multi-party visibility and transparency in the global production of goods. Failure to get there will only get more costly and damaging in the coming years.