Within the world of organic food retailers, there is a trend emerging. The new organic consumers coming up through the ranks are not as wealthy. Whole Foods is creating newer stores that are smaller and offer cheaper options. Trader Joe's is beating Whole Foods in markets. Large grocery chains are offering more and more organic products that eat into Whole Foods. This change in organic food distribution reflects a change progressive consumerism will have to undergo: a poorer prog consumer.
Progressive consumerism allows for conspicuous prog consumption. Political identity can be expressed simply by what one buys. Think of the negative connotation Chik-fil-a has as 'hate chicken'. This works in reverse as one builds their identity. We have formed political thedes and the thedes eventually mold how we act, buy and dress. Crossing over in consumer land is not as hard as crossing over to vote, but there is something similar. Red tribe America laughs at Prius owners.
The younger prog generation is a far more minority filled consumer group. They are poorer. They are loaded with student debt. The first problem retail outlets like Whole Foods run into is that their brands are a white progressive identity. Pulling in non-whites will be a challenge. Have you ever seen a Mexican in a Whole Foods not making a delivery? Of those white progs that remain, they will be poorer than the Boomer or Gen-X generations that built the Whole Foods empire.
This also poses a problem for the idea of conspicuous consumption to signal one's progressive bona fides. If the young generation of progs cannot afford a Prius, a grocery run to Whole Foods and other artisinal, prog approved goods, how are progs going to signal? We can see progs already rationalizing their poverty as a choice with 'tiny houses' and other quirky lifestyle things. These consumer choices though are monthly, weekly or even daily.
Daily signals will need a new channel. This signaling is part of the intra-progressive competition as they jockey for status. It is entirely possible that poor progs throw themselves into political activities, social media outrage, or voicing even stranger and more leftwing ideas publicly. This is not just in mixed group settings, which are happening less, but when they are all together. Consider the venom that happens at caucuses (2008 Iowa Dem comes to mind) during primary season.
It would be wonderful for all if the progressives did not have the money to spend on signaling and would seek status in another way. This would require progressives to disengage from politics. This is a tall order as the entire system needs engagement and will prime these foot soldiers hourly to stay plugged into the political game. The other possibility is that larger brands go all in on progressivism and start aligning their product with one political tribe. Pepsi, the protest choice of the next generation!