Does going green> have to equal spending more?
Americans seem to think so. Last year, largely because of recession belt-tightening, about a third of Americans regularly bought green products the same level as 2008, and a reversal of the double-digit growth that characterized the green market between 2007 and 2008, according to market researcher Mintel.
While the majority of shoppers aren t willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly goods, the committed green shopper is and calculates that savings can accrue over the life of a product, says Brian Howard, the founder of TheDailyGreen.com, an eco-living site. He cites compact fluorescent bulbs as one example. Other items, like organic produce, offer perceived value in health and environmental benefits.
To broaden the number of eco-friendly customers, manufacturers and retailers are taking some steps to drive down prices. Manufacturers have become very aggressive with couponing, says Mark Kastel, the co-director and senior farm policy analyst for The Cornucopia Institute, a research group that promotes sustainable and organic farming. A growing number of sites where consumers can find coupons for green goods, range from CouponSherpa.com, which offers print-at-home organic and natural grocery coupons, to retailers like as Kroger and Safeway.
Here are five places to look:
Mambo Sprouts offers several options for consumers to get manufacturers' coupons for organic, natural and other foods, Kastel says. For registered users, the site will send free mailed booklets; alternatively, it will direct shoppers to a nearby supermarket where the booklets can be picked up in person. There is also a section on the site to print out coupons, though not all stores accept home-printed coupons.
Sample deal:Save $2 on four containers of So Delicious coconut-milk yogurt. Coupon expires May 19.
2) Manufacturer sites
Browse the sites of your favorite organic and eco-friendly brands -- odds are good there will be some kind of print-out coupon, online code or loyalty program for savings and even free products, says Teri Gault, the founder of shopping site The Grocery Game. Earth s Best, Organic Valley and Seventh Generation all have pages of print-at-home coupons. Stoneyfield also has a reward program, offering points when you enter codes found on its products. (One six-ounce cup of organic yogurt yields one point.) Rewards include two free six-ounce cups of yogurt for 15 points and a Seventh Generation disinfectant combo pack for 70 points.
Sample deal:At Brown Cow s site, print out coupons good for 50 cents off any three cream-top yogurts. Coupon expires April 29.
This site offers a free smartphone appOfferings include local stores as well as big chains including Barnes & Noble (BKS)
Sample deal:Scan the electronic coupon on your phone at Aeropostale for $10 off every $50 you spend. Deal expires April 28.
One of the experts go-to sites, RetailMeNot.com tags coupons and codes into categories including green, organic, eco, natural and environment, depending on what items you ll find at that retailer or the nature of the coupon. Current deals include a code for 15% off at green living site Gaiam.com and $2 off any Kashi product.
Sample deal:Save 15% off your next purchase at organic and vegetarian cosmetics retailer Lush.com with the code GIFTFORYOU10 at checkout. Deal expires April 30.
5) Supermarket sites
Many big-name supermarkets are joining the online coupon trend, offering manufacturers' coupons as well as exclusive deals on their own labels, including store-brand organics. Those deals are held to the same organic standards as brand-name products but cost 30% to 50% less, Gault says. Giant Eagle, Whole Foods, Kroger, and Safeway all have pages. Many stores also offer the green option of letting shoppers attach coupons to a store-loyalty account instead of printing them. Shoppers swipe their cards at checkout and eligible coupons are automatically credited to their account.
Sample deal:At Whole Foods, save $5 on any Vitamin Code Raw multivitamins (excluding targeted nutrient formulas). Coupon expires May 31.