Monetizing positive impulses
Fundamental positive human impulses and desires are being often targeted as market opportunities. Three interesting recent examples are the desire for social contact (social media companies), desire for good food (Bio, organic companies) and the desire to live a healthy life (fitness wellness companies). All 3 areas are getting a lot of focus in recent years due to the huge potential. These desires are not limited to any one demographic group.
You could argue that the market economy is merely responding to a need in the market and fulfilling it. The question is how far the market helps the fulfillment of these desires or if it in fact twists them to the possible detriment of the very customers they are supposed to be serving.
Take bio/organic food for example. You can argue that there is a qualitative difference in the food and I believe this was the original trigger for this movement, but once it was discovered that people are prepared to pay significantly more for a simple, pure food then marketing gets to work. Simpler food, involving less processing and packaging could/should in fact cost less. Packaging your rice in non branded/unprinted hemp sacks appears however to increase the price dramatically.
Why then does somebody else just sell simpler for less. I am not sure. I am guessing there is a branding associated with the “simpler” product in these old style market style shops. Although people are nominally paying for a product that is a direct reaction to the heavily processed, heavily branded alternative product, the fact they are willing to pay more for these anti-brands would suggest they are in fact paying for this new form of branding.