BELOIT, WIS. – Consumers are demanding increased sustainability benchmarks from their food and drink, according to a new report from Kerry.
The company surveyed more than 14,000 consumers in 18 countries and found that 49% of global consumers consider the attributes of sustainability when purchasing food and drink. Sustainability attributes were most important for dairy, meat, and their plant-based counterparts and were less important for alcoholic beverages, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages.
The survey found that the topic of sustainability is rapidly evolving to encompass a wider range of associations and expectations.
“This research unveiled some truly surprising results that positioned sustainability as a must-have rather than a differentiator among consumers,” said Soumya Nair, director of insights at Kerry. “Sustainability-conscious consumers actively seek out food and beverage products that have a significant positive impact on the planet and their personal health and well-being, seeking products with own label claims and ingredients. local origin. “
Kerry mapped these expanded priorities onto a sustainability adoption curve, which highlights how consumers experience sustainability at the extrinsic and intrinsic levels. Extrinsic associations such as environmental conservation and sustainable packaging are consumers’ first point of contact with sustainability, while intrinsic associations such as personal health and clean label claims are made by consumers who have matured in their sustainability journey.
The research also uncovered four key consumer archetypes, based on consumers’ understanding of sustainability and their level of sustainability adoption. Qualified as inactive, passive, follower, and trailblazer, these four cohorts are at different points on the sustainability adoption curve.
About 40% of North American consumers are trailblazers, meaning they are deeply committed to sustainability and aware of their own impact. These are typically older millennials looking to influence manufacturers, brands and governments to meet their sustainability needs. About 30% are followers. Made up mostly of young millennials and Gen Z, this cohort is ready to make sustainable food and beverage choices, but relies on businesses and public institutions to take the lead.
For pioneers and followers, the main drivers of sustainability with health and nutrition are to eat more fruits and vegetables, eat healthily, for mental well-being, limit or reduce sugar, avoid additives and preservatives, manage weight, age healthy and avoid artificial ingredients.
Two in 10 North American consumers fall into the inactive archetype, which means they care about sustainability attributes but are less likely to take them into account when making purchasing decisions. Ten percent are inactive who are not yet aware that sustainability is a consideration in terms of food and drink choices. Lack of information, lack of resources and price are the most common obstacles preventing both groups from acting sustainably, according to the report.
Compared to the global average, North American consumers are more than three times more likely to be inactive. They are also less likely to be favorites, with nearly half of global consumers falling into the favorites archetype, compared to 38% of North American consumers.