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Kristen Gmerek

Kristen is a writer, creator, and healing human who falls in love with stories each day. She is currently the Conscious Marketing and Communications Director for Mindful Market.

5 Health Conscious Food Products for the Holidays

December is here and that means the holidays are right around the corner. Although this year has felt daunting for many reasons, the one thing that we should continue to add to our list of gratitude is health. That in itself is a privilege for some of us, especially in the middle of a Pandemic. To keep our minds at peace and our bodies strong, health conscious food products are a must this holiday season.

What Are Health Conscious Food Products?

Health conscious food products have been on the rise in recent years. These products are founded upon the idea that food is a form of medicine and nourishment. Health Consciousness is at the center of such products and is a movement that epitomizes health when it comes to decision-making, including consumerism. Health and wellness have become defining elements in food culture, thus shaping the creation of food products that align with values that consumers just like you have begun to uphold. 

Today, food is not only a source of nourishment for people, but a way of being. 

5 Health Conscious Food Products for the Holidays

This holiday season we want to ensure you have the right health conscious food products for you and your loved ones. These products have been hand selected with some holiday spirit and health consciousness in mind:

1. Ellie Mae’s Gluten Free Whole Buttermilk Pie

Believe it or not this pie is non-dairy, vegan, AND gluten free. This is a health conscious dessert you can’t pass up for your holiday meal. Who doesn’t love a warm pie to celebrate a new season and a new year?

2. Columbia County 100% Sprouted Organic Pizza Crust

We can’t get enough of this crust! It is filling, low reactive, high in fiber and highly digestible… Not to mention, delicious.

3. One Love Chocolate Nut Bars

These bars contain all organic ingredients including cashews, almonds, cocoa, egg whites, dates, cashew butter, coconut nectar, and sea salt.

4. Veggie Korma Curry Sauce & Spice by Flavor Temptations

Need a new dinner idea? This vegetable curry sauce is the way to go. This sauce goes beautifully with a bed of white rice, quinoa or naan. 

5. Chaya Power by Xaman Be Well

Move over matcha powder, chaya powder is here. Found on the coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. This powder is rich in iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin c. You can put it in smoothies, juices, or sprinkled over yogurt.

This year, give the gift of health and well-being this season with Mindful Market; your one-stop shop for health conscious food products.

An Open Letter to Gen Z About Conscious Consumerism

To preface, we are bringing back the “open letter” trend from a few years ago because who doesn’t love a little nostalgia… So, here it goes.

Generation Z,

If there is anything we have learned from this year, it is that you are resilient. You have used your voice for good. You have endured darkness & challenges that most of us have not in our lifetime. That is why here at Mindful Market, we value your efforts to join the Conscious Consumerism movement. Because your generation has a lot to offer the world, including how we treat it.

But, Why Consumerism?

We know it may feel strange that we are calling on an entire generation to address consumerism, but the reality is, it affects everything in our world right now and your generation has a reputation of demanding change. From the environment to equal pay, consumerism and what products/services we buy into shapes the way businesses operate. For example, if you are always shopping for fast fashion, companies are going to continue to produce fast fashion. Yourbasic supply and demand lesson that you didn’t ask for… As you probably know, fast fashion is one of the greatest culprits of waste each year. Not to mention, a constant source of unpaid workers and hazardous working conditions to ensure fast production – thus “Fast Fashion”. So that’s why we are calling on you. To identify your role within this piece of the puzzle. Do you know how your clothes are made? By who? What businesses do you support? Have you ever researched their production ethics? Try it. Right now. And ask yourself, is this the type of consumer I want to be?

Conscious Consumerism is Cool

We promise this is not an attempt to give a stamp of approval like your dad does when you ask his opinion about a new trend. Instead, it’s a reminder that conscious consumerism can be what you make of it. We have been so inspired by some of you taking the opportunity to upcycle, thrift fashion, and hand make jewelry. All for the sake of creativity and saving the planet. But you don’t have to be a cottagecore vegan to practice conscious consumerism either. Taking a reusable straw with you when you go out to eat is one way to navigate consumerism consciously. Or researching brands that are practicing environmental consciousness and supporting those businesses wholeheartedly. We believe that you are the generation that will redefine conscious consumerism in your own way through curiosity and exploration.

As we close on this open letter, we want to thank you for all that you have done to pave the way for future generations as well as set an example for others. We believe in you and we can’t wait to see what you do next.


The Mindful Market Community

The History of Conscious Consumerism

Believe it or not Conscious Consumerism is not a new “fad”. We can trace its roots back to 1954 according to Grow Ensemble. “Economist James Buchanan stated that individual participation in the economy is a form of pure democracy” and thus the Conscious Consumer movement was born. As a result, this movement began as a means to protect workers. It also took into account the environments they worked within. In the late 19th and early 20th Century, the movement grew stronger as “unfair labor practices, ensure product safety, encourage healthy competition in the market and implement financial regulation” (Jennifer Nguyen).

Part 1

As we approached the 1970s, even more proof that regulation and safety measures needed to be prioritized. With that in mind, research done by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 12.6 million people die from environmental health risks every year. Evolving the movement further into a dire situation that impacted the safety of workers and their lives. Not surprisingly, the research on Climate Change and Global Warming became popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. This perpetuated the Conscious Consumer movement ten fold. Now, it wasn’t just about people, but the world…

Part 2

It has been interesting to see the world’s perspective on this movement evolve. The intersectionality between climate change, women’s rights, race relations, and democracy have all played a role in shaping Conscious Consumerism. This Pandemic has also shaped this movement more recently, evolving the way that businesses and consumers sell and buy products & services. We are shopping online more, and also shifting our values to the safety measure being taken to keep products, people, and the workplace environment safe from COVID-19 – something most of us never thought we would see in our lifetime…The more we learn about consumerism, the more we evolve our consumer habits. When you shop your values, you are contributing to a historical movement to better our world.

5 Simple Steps to Make a Conscious Purchase

If you are new to the Conscious Consumer movement, it can feel daunting to step into this space and understand where to begin. Right now, this movement is not only affecting consumer habits, but global production, product development, and marketing tactics for large corporations. Thus, small businesses are making a comeback. The ideology that “what we buy has a direct impact on our world” is crucial.

With that being said, before you pull your favorite deodorant off the shelf at the grocery store, or order more hand sanitizer in bulk online; Here are a few questions to ask your internal conscious consumer… 

Where was this item made?

Consider where this company creates it’s product. Is it locally sourced or purchased? Well, this simple ask allows us to evaluate the carbon footprint this product may have on the world. According to Carbon Brief, “Around 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are, ultimately, consumed in a different country.” 

How was this item made?

What ingredients are found within the product you are looking to purchase. Are they harmful to the environment? This includes the packaging that your product may come in. Also, a simple philosophy to live by is “the less plastic, the better”. That includes avoiding polyester at ALL costs because this is a synthetic plastic material derived from crude oil.

Does this item harm or hurt the world in any way?

Well, some labels that you should be looking for are the Leaping Bunny Certification, Fair Trade and the recycling symbol. These logos are located near the ingredients or on the main label of a product. As a result, they identify the ethics that went into creating said product and can help you evaluate companies that you can trust.

Does this item align with my values?

Ask yourself, what values do I want to uphold within my consumer habits. Do you want everything you touch to be vegan? Do you want to be as eco-friendly as possible? Are you looking to reduce the amount of plastic you consume? Are you hoping to support less exploitation of workers? Lastly, make a list on your phone and use these values to make your purchasing decisions next time you go to the store or find yourself online.

Does this item fill a void or fill a need?

This question is more of an emotionally driven question that can intimate a lot of us. After all, consumerism is built on our emotional response to products. In the age of social media, there is even more of a pull toward wanting more, having more, and “needing more”. Therefore, slowing down to reflect on the “why” of your purchase can help you discern from truly needing something versus purchasing something to fill a desire or a void. Lastly, it is no secret that purchasing things can give us a temporary mood boost. The keyword here is… Temporary. So, unless you are ready for another retail therapy hangover, we suggest you ask yourself this question next time you are looking for a “quick fix” with the help of your shopping cart.Be open. Be mindful. Be willing to ask the questions.

The Psychology Behind Conscious Consumerism

Have you ever wondered what happens within the mind when we pick up an item at a store, grovel over our options to “buy it”, “leave it” or “carry it around” and decide later? What about the shopping carts we fill at 1 AM when we are perusing the internet only to fall asleep and wake up the next day to see we did end up clicking the “Checkout Now” button after all. Believe it or not, these decisions tend to be “unconscious decisions” that Americans make within our consumer culture and the research is only growing to back this up. “Individuals engage in consumption related cognition, motivation, decision making, emotion, and behavior without recognizing the role that nonconscious processes played in shaping them”, according to the ScienceDirect Journal of Consumer Psychology.  

So what about the conscious consumer mind? How does that look different? And why are consumer habits starting to evolve and change across the globe?

Well, I have two words for you: Conscious Awareness

This is a space within our minds that includes “the things we are aware of being aware of” says Study.com. Our mind operates on a spectrum of consciousness. Some of the things we are completely aware of, some we are not aware of at all, and some fall somewhere in the middle. When it comes to Conscious Consumerism and Conscious Awareness, we are utilizing a greater percentage of our Conscious Awareness to make a decision surrounding what we buy and why.

Here are a few simple questions to ask yourself next time you make a purchasing decision to see how much of your Conscious Awareness you are relying on to make that decision:

  1. Why do I want to make this specific purchase?
  2. Is this purchase a basic necessity?
  3. What emotion am I feeling as I hold or look at this product? (anxiousness, excitement, neutrality, impatience, sadness, anger…)
  4. How will this purchase affect my day-to-day life?

Being a Conscious Consumer goes beyond knowing our values. It is a commitment we make in life to take a moment, connect with our mind, ask ourselves the meaningful questions, and create more decisiveness around Conscious awareness.

Why Generation Z is The Most Conscious Consumer Generation Yet

Chances are, the idea of brand loyalty will become more complex under this generations’ consumer habits.

As they rise to enter the workforce, Generation Z is also rising to become one of the most forward thinking and conscious generations yet.  Their unapologetic taste in unique and dynamic products will forever change the way we market, sell, and interact as businesses. Gen Zers are not brand loyal compared to Millennials and instead are finding innovative and adaptable ways to get the products they want and need at the best price.

“As evidenced by recent environmental and ethical rallies, today’s young generation is thinking about the future.”, says NPD.com. Generation Z is making decisions with their values in mind. Chances are, the idea of brand loyalty will become more complex under this generations’ consumer habits. Companies and small businesses will need to focus on building trust, evoking transparency, and aligning with the values that their target Generation Z customers hold. Since this generation grew up in a world that evolved around technology and social media, having a savvy marketing & social media presence won’t hurt to invest in either.

So, how are Generation Zers leading the Conscious Consumerism movement amidst all of this? It comes down to their incentive to make purchases. Despite wanting to keep up with an image, a unique trend, or a fast-paced world of social media influencing, Generation Zers still believe in making decisions that have a greater impact. That’s why fast fashion is dying, unethical brands are being “cancelled”, and the movement toward thrifting, resale, and renting clothes, items, and shoes is becoming the norm. This is a conscious consumer’s dream generation because despite the fast pace nature of their purchasing habits, thanks to the influence and availability of online shopping, Generation Zers want more for their future and the world.

It is important to understand that Generation Z is no exception to the rule that over-generalizing a generation can be dangerous. Thus, according to Alexandra Pastore, “Retailers who go beyond understanding how they are different than Millennials — in order to understand the unique needs within the generations and how to appeal to them — will have the advantage.”

Taking the time, space, and proactive approach to understanding Generation Z is just the beginning. However, knowing that we are about to see the impact of a new wave of conscious consumerism thanks to Generation Z may be the growth opportunity conscious brands, ethical companies, and small businesses have been looking for.

Want To Advance An Unpopular Cause? Sell Popular Stuff.

Around this time last year, Burger King’s new, meatless Impossible Whopper was a sandwich celebrity. 

Its debut was so successful that patty supplier Impossible Foods ran low on its fake beef. In St. Louis, Mo, the first city to experience the craze, Burger King foot traffic increased by 18.5% for April. And for 2019’s third business quarter, sales rose by 5% at Burger Kings that had been open for at least a year. This was the company’s strongest growth since 2015.

Counterintuitively, most of the customers behind this success weren’t vegetarians.

In fact, Burger King never marketed the Impossible Whopper towards vegetarians. Neither did Impossible Foods, who aims its fake meat at omnivores for a cause — the company hopes that by making ultra-realistic meat substitutes, it will make meat obsolete by 2035

“I love vegetarians and vegans as much as the next guy,” said Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, “but that is not the customer we care about.”

Impossible Foods’ plan just might work, because according to research firm The NPD Group, a whopping (pun intended) 90% of people who eat fake meat also eat the real kind. The firm states that these customers appreciate having options. Many of them, especially Millennials, use plant-based meat alternatives to indulge without betraying health goals. 

Why is it counterintuitive for meat-eaters to consume fake meat? After all, many people like to try new foods. It isn’t strange for non-Japanese people to like sushi. 

Perhaps it’s because, until recently, mock meats haven’t tasted like their real counterparts. And because they were marketed as meat substitutes, people were disappointed. To buy them was seen as settling for less, although perhaps for a good reason.

The Impossible Whopper is different. Thanks to iron-containing heme, which makes meat taste meaty, it tastes like a real beef hamburger (whether it tastes like a Whopper, however, depends on whom you ask). 

Living Ethically Requires Self-Discipline… Until You Make It Convenient

Unfortunately, going vegetarian (especially vegan) takes strength and courage… for now. 

Food is so much more than nutrition — it’s a part of culture, a link to the past, and a powerful form of social bonding. As a result, renouncing meat, dairy, and/or eggs doesn’t just lead to withdrawal cravings; it can cause culture shock and loneliness. It’s no surprise, then, that only about 5% of Americans are vegans or vegetarians, which hasn’t changed much within the past three decades. 

With little success, (ideological) vegetarians have long tried to convert meat-eaters. Most people aren’t persuaded by rational debate on emotional subjects like food ethics. And even when faced with horrific farm conditions and anthropogenic climate change, they assuage their guilt with denial, compartmentalization, and other mind tricks. The more uncomfortable it is to be ethical, the more likely people are to prioritize comfort.

That’s why the key to speedier progress in animal liberation, conservation, and the fight against climate change isn’t veganism; it’s displacing unethical products and services with more appealing alternatives.

This isn’t to say that going vegetarian or vegan is futile — far from it. By going vegan for a month, you could save 30 animals, prevent 620 pounds of CO2 emissions, and spare 913 square feet of forest. But most people won’t join you, and they’ll keep thwarting your causes until they change their behaviors for different reasons.

“Our products are going to get tastier, healthier, more affordable and better in every way, continuously into the far future, and the incumbent meat industry is just standing there, waiting for the tsunami.” — Pat Brown, CEO and founder of Impossible Foods

It’s hard to believe that fake meat could ever replace the real kind on a mass scale, but similarly massive changes have happened before. Imagine if automobiles had been made to liberate horses. The intention wouldn’t have made a historical difference; in both that alternate universe and our real one, people wouldn’t have adopted cars out of compassion. Automobiles are simply better than horse-drawn buggies, and now they’re the default mode of travel.

While A Conscious Consumer Can Change Lives, A Conscious Business Can Shift Paradigms

Though I’ve focused this article so far on vegetarianism, the bigger point I want to make applies to conscious consumerism in general. Though individuals can do great good with their purchases, they can’t convince everyone else to shop with their criteria. And sometimes, this isn’t even due to personal weaknesses; equally passionate people can have competing ideologies. 

That’s why no matter what the movement, conscious businesses have a massive advantage over conscious consumers — they can sell things to people who don’t care for their causes. 

This approach to the conscious consumer movement can make everyone happy. Nobody likes to be told what to do, and nobody wants their cause to be stagnant. When ethical goods and services appeal to most people, society improves without a struggle.

It’s Time For The Conscious Business.

Specifically, Conscious E-Commerce ™.

Online retailers are seeing Black Friday-like sales due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business. According to new data from Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, U.S. e-commerce jumped 49% in April, compared to the baseline period in early March before shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect. Source- Techcrunch.com 5/12/20

There is a lot of uncertainty in the air. Uncertainty breeds opportunity.  I believe now is a great time for the conscious e-business

What is a conscious business?

Conscious leaders believe that business is about more than making a profit. Conscious entrepreneurs view business as good, ethical, noble and heroic.  There is a universal truth that people aspire to meaning & purpose. Conscious businesses care about all stakeholders in their ecosystem. Conscious leaders focus on “we” not “me”.  They put people first which results in high levels of engagement, motivation and commitment.  Conscious businesses intentionally foster cultures with high levels of authenticity, integrity and personal growth. 

Facts prove that a conscious company is a much more profitable company because associates enjoy working and are more productive.  Happy associates produce higher quality products & services, leading to happier customers and larger profits. So here are the facts:

  • Raj Sisodia, Co-Founder of Conscious Capitalism, looked at 28 companies he identified as the most conscious “firms of endearment”, as he termed them, based on characteristics such as their stated purpose, generosity of compensation, quality of customer service, investment in their communities, and impact on the environment.
  • 18 publicly traded companies out of the 28 outperformed the S&P 500 index by a factor of 10.5 over the years 1996-2011. 

source Harvard Business Review 

A conscious business ethos typically transcends into the company’s web presence.  You can feel the essence of trust, loyalty, fairness and genuine caring within the web pages and social media channels of a conscious business. During this most interesting shift we are all experiencing, this spirit will pay dividends.  Combine a conscious business with the recent online shopping boom along with an expanding conscious consumer movement and you have a recipe for business growth and more importantly – increased impact. 

The crisis will be the cure. Maintain focus on your purpose AND your customer’s problems. Stay present and positive.  You’ve got this.

Good, Fast, and Cheap: Pick Two

Most of us are stuck in a weird sort of limbo right now. We’re supposed to stay home, eat at home, work at home… Do everything at home. But for many of us, being at home more is new. We’re not used to it and we’re still figuring out how to adapt to this new reality. This new “being at home” thing doesn’t change the fact that we still need groceries and household products. Pre-COVID-19, many dealt with the paradox of whether products they purchased were good, cheap, or fast. Despite seemingly everything around us changing, this paradox lives on. How do we figure out what is important as consumers when we have much bigger issues to think about?

With job loss and more necessary budgeting, I have had to prioritize necessity over convenience and I know I am not alone in this. Money is tight for many people. Time seems to stretch on yet we want things to get to us as soon as possible because we can’t bear waiting any longer. It feels like in this age the concept of a good quality product is just not worth it anymore. We are often unwilling to consider where our products come from in order to get a product as soon as we want it. The need to get a product now seems to have outweighed any need to get an ethically-made product from a conscious business. 

Before Coronavirus and state-wide lockdowns, there were many places we could choose to shop. From online retailers, to small brick-and-mortar shops, we had a choice of where to buy what we needed. In the midst of this global pandemic, local businesses have shuttered their doors and we have turned to online shopping for everything from toothpaste to applesauce and socks. While our choices for where to shop haven’t completely gone away, they’ve just been altered. So I’ll leave you with this: make the best choices for you. Think about going to a local co-op grocery store or a farmer’s market. Look for gifts on places like Mindful Market to help support local businesses struggling right now. Utilize your pantry to reduce trips to the grocery store.

Products can’t be good, fast, and cheap, but you can choose which two you care most about and adapt your habits to fit which ones you chose. It’s hard not to give in to the giant retailer ruling everyone’s purchases and buy that toothpaste for three bucks so you can finally brush your teeth. But there is so much more out there in terms of responsible, ethical online retailers. Reframe the good, fast, cheap paradox as choosing between products and businesses that are conscious, gratifying, or quick. I implore you to do your research. Think about what you value most as a consumer and shop according to those values. Look around your home before going to the grocery store and make note of anything you’re running out of. Be conscious and aware of what a trip to the store means.  

We still have control over this situation, as much as it seems like we don’t. Now you get to decide which two… Good, fast, or cheap?

10 Quotes That Will Inspire The Conscious Consumer Within

We all need a little inspiration from time to time to understand why we make the decisions we choose to make in our lives. Being a conscious consumer is no exception to the rule. Here are some quotes to write on your bathroom mirror or post on your fridge to remind yourself why this movement and taking part in it are so important:

  • “Between 60-80 percent of the impacts on the planet come from household consumption. If we change our consumption habits, this would have a drastic effect on our environmental footprint as well,”  –  Diana Ivanova
  • “Our obsessive relationship with material things is actually jeopardising our relationships” – Celia Cole
  • “There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.”  – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Cheap consumer products are sold to us as some grand achievement of globalisation, but they’ve come at the price of middle-class jobs, craftsmanship and stable communities.”- Elizabeth L. Cline
  • “As consumers we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.” —Emma Watson
  • “If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, value is in the mind of the consumer.” – Michele Jennae
  • “Consumerism is not bad, but reckless and mindless consumerism is not just bad, but downright injurious to the health of not just the individual, but of the entire society.” – Abhijit Naskar

Think before you shop. 

Think before you live.

Join Mindful Market as a Conscious Consumer today.