How Brands Can Conquer Skepticism


The conscientious consumer is on the minds of brands today. This is a demographic that is considerate of the environmental and ethical impact their purchase decisions have and seek brands with radical transparency. They've moved beyond token gestures and certifications, looking for brands that are making systematic changes to their business processes and products, touching supply chain, ingredients, materials and packaging. In other words, they want to see the whole picture of how the product was made, and absorb every detail of its production.

There are three brands in the food and beverage category with a compelling, authentic story that connects with the ideals of conscientious consumer: REBBL, Annie's, and Nature's Way. 

REBBL is a beverage company founded to create a sustainable business problem to the human trafficking problem in Peru. By growing ingredients in regions in need of economic empowerment, it creates sustainable livelihoods for communities and reduces the risk of trafficking and exploitation. By working directly with farmers, they can control their supply chain and ensure not only are they not contributing to a widespread problem, but helping to eliminate it.

Annie’s booth at Expo West 2019 in Anaheim, CA

Annie’s booth at Expo West 2019 in Anaheim, CA

Annie's focused on regenerative farming, on four family farms in Montana. Their wheat contributes to, rather than harms, the soil quality on their farms. Soil health is an issue impacting not just farms and their crops, but the health of nearby communities via water sources and contamination. Annie's is working in partnership with these farmers to make a specialty mac and cheese product with pasta made from wheat on these farms.


Nature's Way, a brand we have recently partnered with on their brand repositioning and package design, sources their ingredients from indigenous regions where they grow best. Generations of growers have preserved the knowledge and practices over time and use them today. For example, their Saw Palmetto is harvested once a year, sourced from the only place it is naturally grown – the Florida Everglades - and their Valerian comes from family farms in Poland where it has been growing for generations. 

The overarching idea is that methods prior to a fast-food nation were noble in that they were local, honored traditions, and followed the patterns and rhythms in the natural world.

During the discovery process with Nature's Way, what became clear to the team that what was once old is new again. As a culture, we have begun favoring concepts that were the norm decades and centuries ago: shopping at local markets, outdoor activities, and the belief that what nature can provide us is best - especially when it comes to our health.

These three brands have a core focus that connects to the new conscientious consumer: they care just as much about the full story of their product as consumers do, and it shows. From the integrity of how their product is grown and harvested, the purity and intent of ingredients, and the deliberate focus on positively impacting the world and communities, these brands know that this is the new measure of quality. Brands that are able to tap into this sentiment and create a story that honors this is what will ultimately connect to a skeptical consumer base, particularly that conscientious consumer. 

Julia Rancone