Consumers willing to pay up for U.S. cotton


U.S. consumers are more willing to buy clothes made from sustainably grown U.S. cotton than apparel made using conventional practices in an unknown location, University of Missouri researchers have found.

Jung Ha-Brookshire is an assistant professor of textile and apparel management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

She and associate Professor Pamela Norum surveyed 500 people across the nation and found consumers not only preferred U.S. cotton but were willing to pay up to $5 more for a cotton shirt produced sustainably in America.

Cotton farmers and clothing companies should be paying attention, the researchers said.

“It is important for the apparel industry to remain transparent about its products, especially if they are produced in a sustainable manner,” Ha-Brookshire said in a statement. “We have shown that consumers want to know where their clothes come from and would rather buy sustainably produced clothes.”

And many U.S. cotton farmers are already using sustainable practices; they’re just not communicating that fact well enough with the public, Norum said.

“If they would increase transparency about cotton production, consumers would be more likely to buy their products,” she said.

Studies on the topic by Ha-Brookshire and Norum were published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing and Clothing Textiles Research Journal.