Reusable Bags Make People Buy Organic—An Interview with Uma Karmarkar by Scott Berinato


September 01, 2015

Reusable Bags Make People Buy Organic—: An Interview with Uma Karmarkar by Scott Berinato

The research: Uma Karmarkar, an assistant professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, and her research partner Bryan Bollinger, of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, studied the grocery bills of thousands of California shoppers. Because the receipts noted small discounts given to people who had provided their own reusable bags, it was possible to study whether their purchases differed from those of other shoppers. Comparisons showed that people who brought their own bags were more likely to buy organic goods—.........

Karmarkar: It was clear that shoppers who brought their own bags were more likely to replace nonorganic versions of goods like milk with organic versions. So one green action led to another. ............

Bryan did amazing quantitative analysis on this. The data we worked with was based on loyalty cards, so we didn’t just compare individual transactions. We could compare the purchases of the same people when they brought bags versus when they didn’t..............

A version of this article appeared in the April 2015 issue (pp.26–27) of Harvard Business Review.

Scott Berinato is a senior editor at Harvard Business Review.

 



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