What kind of clean, healthy, or sustainable labels do US consumers want?

By Joshua Weatherwax

4 min read

August 6, 2021

See what consumers around the country are looking for when they do their grocery shopping

As healthier, more conscious consumption becomes the norm among US consumers, it’s also become commonplace to see certain product labels making headlines. You’ve probably read a pile of trend reports talking about “clean” beauty labels, sustainably packaged snacks, and responsibly sourced chocolate. 

News reports will only take you so far. Just because one label has become the buzzword of the day doesn’t mean it’s the product attribute flying off of grocery shelves. Moreover, just because one trend takes off in New York retailers, doesn’t mean shoppers in LA, Boston, or Atlanta have any interest. 

The only way to know for sure is to look at the data. Innovate your product portfolio and target distribution in the places where you know what shoppers are looking for, and you’ll see your sales soar.

Just about every category in your local grocer or big box retailer now features healthy, clean or sustainably-focused product labels, but for the sake of this article, we’re focusing on a few famous examples: Coffee, Frozen Fish, and Baby Wash.

All data from this report was compiled using the Byzzer by NielsenIQ suite of Total Wellness reports, pulled for the last 52 weeks ending 7-17-21, covering all NielsenIQ Total FMCG retailers.

Do consumers really want “free trade” coffee?

How important is the label “free trade” to your coffee sales? Well, the answer may depend on what part of the country in which you’re targeting distribution.

Overall, responsibly-sourced coffee remains big business at $2B in sales and nearly 20% of the overall coffee category. But let’s take a closer look at regional trends using Byzzer by NielsenIQ’s Product Insight by Region report:

Top markets for fair trade coffee sales in the US



In which cities are fair trade coffee sales increasing fastest


Which sustainable coffee labels sell the most


Which small fair trade coffee brands are growing fastest and in which markets?


How important is sustainably caught seafood to US consumers?

As news of climate change tops headlines across the country, more and more conscious consumers are choosing to spend their dollars on sustainably sourced seafood. In fact, sustainably sourced frozen fish make up 39% of the frozen fish category. This trend, however, varies depending on what area of the country you are targeting to sell to:

Top US markets for sustainable frozen fish sales


Fastest growing markets for sustainably caught frozen fish


Top selling sustainable frozen fish labels


Fastest growing sustainable frozen fish brands by US market


Is “clean label” really worth investing in for personal care brands?

Maybe. You know that by now, there is a crowded field of personal care and beauty products claiming “clean label”. And sometimes the most popular categories aren’t the best choices to break into, especially if you’re a small CPG manufacturer looking for out-of-the-box opportunities. 


But what about clean label product attributes for a different kind of personal care category? We took a look at Baby Wash and Hair Care, where 1.3% of category sales go to “clean label” products.


Top US markets for clean label baby care product sales


Fastest growing US markets for clean label baby care products


Top selling clean label product attributes for baby care products


Fastest growing small clean label baby care brands

Wrapping up

Looking to source these same insights for your category and brand? It is super easy with Byzzer by NielsenIQ’s suite of Total Wellness reports. All self-serve, all instantaneous, all available at a price that fits your startup budget.

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