A desire to protect people and the planet has been sweeping the United States and other countries for some time. Products aimed at supporting these protective instincts, whether labeled “organic”, “natural” or “eco-friendly”, are becoming increasingly popular – so popular, in fact, that food sales , beverages, housewares and personal care items under the “natural” umbrella brand are expected to exceed $300 billion by 2023 and $400 billion by 2030, according to New Hope Network.
Pest control solutions are no exception. PMPs across the country tell us that demand for green pest control products and services continues to grow as customers become more concerned about the environment and the health of themselves, their families and neighbors. These highlights from the PCT State of the Naturals Market 2022 study offer insight into some of the issues that pest control company executives are considering when meeting this growing demand:
A CONSCIOUS DECISION
The vast majority (87%) of PMPs that participated in the PCT State of the Naturals Market 2022 study indicated that they operate in markets where customers are very or somewhat environmentally conscious. It makes sense that their companies are stepping up their offerings of natural products and services.
“Austin is one of the most environmentally conscious cities in Texas,” says Joe Cantu of The Bug Master. “Our company has been around for 40 years and we have been focusing on natural solutions for at least 20 years. As people spend more time on the internet and in social media discussions, their awareness of green pest control options increases. We get more and more requests for this all the time.
Noah Gunter Besheer of Gunter Pest & Lawn sees a similar trend in Missouri. “Demand for green products is growing in the Kansas City market,” he says. “Consumers are increasingly aware of the ingredients in their foods, soaps, shampoos and cleaning products. Many of these health-conscious consumers also care about the chemicals used in their pest prevention treatments.
Demographic changes also often play a role in demand. Take Martinsburg, W.Va., for example, where a wave of industrial growth is drawing more young people and families to the area. “Late last fall, we started to see a surge of new customers – mostly people between the ages of 25 and 40 with a higher level of education than we typically see in this market,” says Brian Fausey from American Pest Control. “They want a green product that protects their children, their pets and the environment.”
Fausey’s team is ready to deliver. “When I opened my business in 2012, one of my priorities was to offer a green solution. I had seen a lot of unmet demands when I worked at other companies and I was determined to meet the needs of every type of customer. If you want to survive in this industry, you need to cover the full spectrum of needs.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Even “old-fashioned” companies have come to appreciate natural products. Warren Remmey, who describes his San Antonio business, Spider Man Pest Control, says his green business is growing about 10% each year. “I was trained by the older generation of exterminators. At the time, we were working with very toxic products and very precise treatments were required. I had the benefit of learning the old-fashioned way and then seeing the market transition to less toxic products,” he says. “I was skeptical of them at first, but as I tried them I saw how effective they could be. Today, we give customers the option to choose the type of program they prefer.
Rebecca Coleman of Norris Environmental Solutions in Washoe Valley, Nevada, says her father, Lang Norris, also learned old-school methods. Recognizing the risks, he always tried to find a better way. The industry used chemicals in the 1970s that are no longer on the market, she said. “And even though IPM practices were introduced back then, many pest control operators continued to live by the glug method: if one glug was good, two must be better,” says Coleman. “My dad was always trying to do things differently, using less chemistry and still getting great results. Our business was built on his commitment; we’ve been providing our customers with effective organic solutions for 30 years.