Consumers have countless product choices when it comes to keeping their homes clean. They can use the standard cleansers and paper goods or they can purchase products that are environmentally friendly.
Given the established market presence of many household supplies, and the possible purchase of lower-priced store-brand items, one might expect some of the newer green products to be a bit more expensive. At what price point are consumers willing to pay more for eco-friendly products: 10% or 25%?
Let’s take a virtual trip to a grocery store and the household cleaning supply aisle; we will load some cleansers, soaps and paper goods into our shopping cart to see what the totals might be. Because size and quantity may vary, all prices reflect pro rata adjustments.
|All Purpose Cleanser||Clorox||$3.69||Seventh Generation||$5.29|
|Bathroom Cleanser||Lysol||$4.90||Seventh Generation||$5.29|
|Dish Washer Powder||Cascade||$4.29||Seventh Generation||$5.79|
|Dish Soap||Palmolive||$3.59||Seventh Generation||$3.29|
|Laundry Detergent||All||$7.59||Mrs. Meyer’s1||$10.15|
|Bathroom Tissue||Angel Soft||$3.33||Seventh Generation||$3.99|
|Facial Tissue||Kleenex||$3.39||Seventh Generation||$4.44|
|Napkins||Scott Natural||$5.49||Seventh Generation||$14.97|
|Paper Towel||Bounty||$3.90||Seventh Generation||$2.69|
Looking at these ten items, we observe a few differences. For one, at this store, there are fewer “green” brands. Indeed, the three principal brands are represented in almost every category of the cleansers and paper products, while the standard brands are more varied. One might consider that the competition among the traditional brands keeps their prices lower. However, the fact that the glass cleanser, dish soap and paper towel sold by the green manufacturers all are priced less than the usual brands seems to contradict that trend.
On the whole, however, the prices for the green products are about one-third higher, as is the total for the ten items. The exception is the paper napkins; the green brand is almost three times the price of the standard brand, which is made from 100% recycled paper. Perhaps the green solution is to use cloth napkins, which can be laundered. That option would trim the “green brands” shopping basket to $45.52, making the totals essentially even.
Of course, the ultimate green cleanser might be the one prepared at home using a recipe from Consumer Reports.
The cost of “clean and green” will vary by store and city; nonetheless, it is a useful exercise to consider when stocking up on household supplies. If there is little difference in quality and effectiveness, it is up to consumers to decide whether the price difference between traditional and green brands of dishwasher detergent powder is as meaningful as the future impact their purchase will have on the environment.
Beyond household items, how do consumers fare in other product categories (automobiles, electronics, appliances)? And how will pricing strategies on higher ticket items shakeout in the marketplace? Is the extra green cost a deal breaker? Share your thoughts.
Other reports of interest
1 Mrs. Meyer’s Laundry Detergent was on sale; the usual price is $16.79