Kathryn Rem: Seeing red about the green movement

Kathryn Rem

As more consumers cast off their gas guzzlers for hybrid cars, eschew processed foods for locally grown varieties and search for the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of old refrigerators and toasters, there remains the defiant minority that sees the greening of America as nonsense.

About 10 percent of the population are naysayers when it comes to the environment, according to Chicago-based research firm Mintel International.

Members of this feisty bunch do not recycle, do not buy green products and get irritated if they see advertising for products that are kind to the environment.

It’s not that they’re too busy. It’s that they view sustainability as a trendy bunch of rubbish. The non-recyclable kind.

Mintel calls the demographic the “Never Greens.” You probably won’t find them buying kohlrabi at a farmers market.

The research, reported in advertising-industry magazine Brandweek, dubs other demographic groups the Super Greens, True Greens and Light Greens. In the past 16 months, those identified as Super Greens and True Greens have increased threefold, and that’s driving all growth in the sustainable marketplace.

Another survey by Shelton Group, an ad agency for BP Solar, shows that 26 percent of Americans are disgusted by the reverberating in the media and the marketplace.

That research found the Never Greens are generally upper-income, middle-aged, conservative males.

They’re perfectly happy to get carryout restaurant food in Styrofoam containers and groceries in a sea of plastic bags.

And they’re angry that the marketplace assumes all consumers prefer organic Bibb lettuce to a good old Big Mac.

Food editor Kathryn Rem can be reached at 788-1520 or