There’s a new breed of consumer on the horizon; they are conscious, conscientious and knowledgeable when it comes to purchasing products. Their consumption habits are guided by how a product was made, where it was sourced and the materials it’s made from. United in their approach, conscious consumers are critical and want a more meaningful interaction with brands who show they care.

If brands are to appeal to these considered shoppers, they’ll need to go further than marketing. Being a conscious company demands a rethink of production, sourcing and delivery practices, to ensure each product is really delivering on a growing expectation for ethical, environmental and naturally sourced products.

Here are three areas that will drive conscious shopping habits over the year.

Ethicality

Over the years there have been a string of investigations into supply chain slavery with major brands at the helm of the scandals. We live in a digital age where word travels fast, which means failure to take ethical responsibility for the products we pump out, isn’t an option. At Matrix, we’re working to meet the needs of the conscious consumer in a huge variety of ways. Not least through our constant pursuit to be as ethically responsible as possible. The introduction of our worker welfare platform, MatrixChat, and our commitment to improving the wellbeing of migrant-parent factory workers are just two of many ways in which we’re practicing what we preach. These measures will allow the brands we supply to confidently communicate their ethical compliancy to all customers. In 2017, we’re likely to see more innovation to promote the welfare of factory workers behind products.

Environmental sustainability

From worldwide air pollution crises to vegetable shortages, many people are pondering how they can play a part in protecting the planet. According to a YouGov study on behalf of the Carbon Trust, more than half (55%) of UK consumers said that they would feel “much more than positive” about a company that has reduced the carbon footprint of its products. It signals a huge opportunity for retailers – how can we create consumer goods from sustainable resources? At Matrix we’re working on our sustainable material offering to ensure that we’re at the forefront of innovation in this area. Just look at the work we did with Blue Peter; the much-coveted badges will now be created from recycled yogurt pots. It’s just one of many ways we can make a meaningful change.

Natural sources

In a fast-changing digital world, there’s a growing desire to switch off from it all. It’s these consumers who wish to approach a much more organic lifestyle, away from the glaring blue lights of our computer screens. There is an ever-growing number of conscious millennial consumers who are in pursuit of products across all areas that are beneficial to their wellbeing and that aren’t bad for the environment. Retail and grocery brands like The Body Shop and Whole Foods have been big proponents of naturally sourced goods, while new contenders are cropping up all the time. Over the year, we’re going to see more and more brands revaluating the ingredients that make up their products. Cue avocado-based face masks and aluminium-free deodorants.

As conscious consumers grow in their dominance, brands need to ensure they are taking practical steps to keep up otherwise they risk being left behind in favour of better alternatives.