More and more customers are buying goods in supermarkets that include a clear conscience. Whether mineral water, which supports the construction of wells in Africa, or nut bars, which help refugees. But are these products getting out of the niche?

The Berlin founder Sebastian Stricker sells mineral water, liquid soap and nut bars with his start-up Share at Rewe and dm.

ERegardless of whether mineral water or iced tea, muesli bars or soap end up in the basket: If you want, you can do good shopping today. In more and more supermarkets and drugstores, in addition to classic branded goods and private labels, consumers are also finding social products from brands such as Share, Lemonaid or Charitea, where help for people in need is, so to speak, an integral part of the product. “You buy a good conscience and signal: I am a good person,” says trade expert Martin Fassnacht from the WHU business school, describing the appeal of such products.

Example Share: The Berlin start-up has been selling mineral water, liquid soap and nut bars at Rewe and dm for around six months. Almost five million products have been sold since then, according to founder Sebastian Stricker. “The principle is simple: for every Share brand product sold, a person in need is helped with an equivalent product or service,” says Stricker, describing the basic idea.

According to Stricker, the proceeds have already financed the construction of 23 wells in countries such as Liberia, Senegal and Cambodia. In addition, more than 300,000 soaps and more than 1.2 million meals were distributed. The food aid went to the Berliner Tafel as well as to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and other needy people in the Third World. Nevertheless, one has the feeling that the founder is not really satisfied with what has been achieved: “It is more than one might have expected, but we do not yet build a well every day.”

The “drink helps principle”

The managing director of the largest German drugstore chain dm was already convinced of the future viability of the concept when it was launched: “We believe that these products meet the zeitgeist. Young customers in particular consume very consciously and, when making their purchase decision, take very precise account of the values ​​a company represents. “

But Share is by no means the only commercially available product that combines consumption and a clear conscience. The lemonade and iced tea brands Lemonaid and Charitea, founded by three Hamburg friends several years ago, also rely on the “drink helps principle”. Every bottle makes a small contribution to a better world, the providers promise.

In their production, they rely exclusively on organic raw materials from Fairtrade plantations. For every bottle sold, 5 cents go to a non-profit association that uses it to support development aid projects. So far, more than three million euros have been collected for social projects in the cultivation regions, reports Lemonaid. A Rewe spokesman sees the brands on the road to success. “Of course they are niche products. But they do very well for niche products – also because of the social aspect in the background. “

Support for local projects

The makers behind the Quartiermeister beer brand, which has meanwhile also gained a foothold in the regions around Leipzig, Dresden and Munich from Berlin, are more connected to their homeland. For them, the principle applies: “We do not do business to get rich, but to enrich our neighborhood.” The profits therefore flow into local initiatives from the self-help workshop Tailwind in Berlin to the Schnibbel parties in Munich, with which food waste is to be combated . In total, more than 100,000 euros have already been distributed to more than 100 projects in Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and Munich, according to Quartiermeister.

According to the industry expert Fassnacht, the chances for the success of such social products are also good in the future. It is true that hardly any of these goods will become a real mass product. But there is a growing niche for such products. “For many customers, the social benefit is a much more important criterion when making a purchase decision than it was ten years ago,” he says. “We want to feel comfortable while consuming.”