Marketing and spirituality might seem like odd bedfellows, but selling people on products that enhance the mind, body and especially the soul is becoming serious business. Let’s put some numbers to it: Last year, global spending on personal health, fitness and sustainable living surpassed $300 billion. Sales of natural and organic foods in the United States alone neared $50 billion — with Whole Foods’ market value pegged at $14 billion — and the yoga industry, having journeyed from ancient spiritual practice to luxury lifestyle, continues to grow at a rate of 20 percent per year, accounting for $27 billion today in America.
But the revelation isn’t what people are buying or how much they’re spending — it’s how they are choosing. In a far-reaching study by PR powerhouse Edelman, consumers reported that when faced with a choice between products of equal quality and price, companies that support a “good cause” with a portion of their profits won out. Forty-four percent of people were even willing to pay a premium for products made by do-gooders.