Buying eco-friendly "green" products appears to be becoming the norm, according to new research.
Conducted by personal hygiene product company SCA, the research revealed that more than 40 percent of U.S. adults believe green products and services are just getting started and nearly one-third think it's now the norm and a required expectation.
Overall, nearly 70 percent of U.S. consumers purchase green products or services. While that number is slightly lower than last year, Mike Kapalko, sustainability-marketing manager for SCA's Tork Brand, believes that could be in part to consumers perceptions of green products.
"With the fact that almost one-third of the people indicated green is the new normal, one could presume that people don't even see their current green purchases as being green anymore, when in actuality they are," Kapalko said. "It could very well now be ingrained in their habits."
The research shows consumers are well aware of which companies have sustainable practices and that they are using that information to help make buying decisions.
The study found that 82 percent of U.S. consumers are knowledgeable about which brands have a strong history of sustainability, with 80 percent of those considering that history when purchasing from them.
"As sustainability has continued to evolve to become more a part of everyday life, customers are taking the time to educate themselves on the range of practices and products that are available," said Joshua Radoff, a sustainability expert and member of the Tork Green Hygiene Council.
The research also found green restaurants are growing in popularity among diners. More than 50 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer to eat at a restaurant with a positive social and environmental component.
In addition, nearly half of diners expect green restaurants to cost more, which Kapalko said shows an associated premium with sustainable goods and services.
"Sustainability is important to customers and the consistency of the survey results over the past four years show the availability of green products and services is not a fad but expected," said Kapalko. "Doing what is environmentally correct is what customers want."
The study was based on surveys of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers over the age of 18.
Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.