How Sustainability Impacts Consumer Preferences in the Grocery Industry 

5 04 2023

Contributed by The Ashkin Group via • Reposted: April 5, 2023

A March 2023 study released by Glow, a research technology company, and NielsenIQ, a global information services company, finds that sustainability in the food and grocery (F&G) industry is becoming more and more imperative.

According to the researchers, “Consumers are increasingly willing to align their purchases with their values” about sustainability. The study, conducted from April 2022 to December 2022, included more than 33,000 respondents. Researchers said the respondents were a representative sample of US consumers based on age, gender, and geography.

Among the key takeaways from the report are the following:

 Sustainability is good for business. Companies focused on sustainability are outpacing their competitors regarding sales and market share.

• Consumers are switching brands based on sustainability. Switching brands based on how sustainability-focused a company is viewed is happening across all market categories, especially among younger consumers.

• Sustainability outweighs cost. With inflation, some consumers are looking for less costly product alternatives. But many consumers won’t trade down to a less expensive brand if that organization is not practicing sustainability.

• Sustainability communications matter. The study found that many brands are not getting the recognition they deserve – along with the related market share and profits – because they are not promoting their sustainability practices to consumers.

“We must remember this study focused on the food and grocery industry,” says Steve Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group and the professional cleaning industry’s leading advocate for sustainability. “Consumers and end-customers may differ on the importance of sustainability by industry. However, F&G is closely connected to the professional cleaning industry. What happens in food and grocery will likely follow very quickly in professional cleaning — if it has not already.”

The study supports this view. In F&G, the three sustainability drivers most important in the overall sustainability of a brand are the following:

1.    Reducing emissions to slow climate change.

2.    Protecting natural resources

3.    Protecting wildlife and ecosystems.

“These are among the same key drivers in the professional cleaning industry driving the industry to operate more sustainably as well,” says Ashkin.

The full study is available here.

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How Sustainability is Driving Consumer Purchases in Food and Grocery

31 03 2023

Image: Waste 360

Consumers are increasingly swapping brands for ones that are more sustainable, according to new research from Glow. The online consumer research platform contacted 33,000 respondents between April and December 2022, gathering insight into their food and grocery purchases. By Stefanie Valentic from Waste 360 – Reposted: March 31, 2023

Consumers are increasingly swapping brands for ones that are more sustainable, according to new research from Glow.

The online consumer research platform contacted 33,000 respondents between April and December 2022, gathering insight into their food and grocery purchases. Glow also leveraged data from NielsonIQ research studies to study the relationship between consumers and sustainability expectations.

Glow founder and CEO Tim Clover commented, “Investors, employees, customers and consumers want to see more progress in sustainability initiatives that support people, the environment and the planet. Brands are increasingly sharing their credentials, communicating their milestones and publishing performance against their ESG and sustainability goals.”

He noted the influx of information around sustainability from both “controlled and uncontrolled sources” as a direct driver of consumer purchasing decisions, with one out of 2 consumers switching brands based on their purpose-driven efforts.

The US Brand Sustainability Benchmark report showed behaviors shift across all sectors of the food and grocery (F&G) industry, with the highest occurrences in Health & Beauty, Meat & Seafood, Household, and Beverage.

Respondents indicated they are willing to pay more for brands with ESG goals that align with their values. Nine out of 10 consumers surveyed expressed the importance of brands demonstrating social and environmental responsibility. Furthermore, 64 percent are willing to pay more for these products.

The findings also showed the following economic issues are most important in purchasing F&G products: reducing emissions and climate change; respecting and protecting natural resources; protecting wildlife and ecosystems; and taking care of supplier welfare. Packaging and plastic reduction in Household products also were important to consumers.

“The largest opportunity gap for brands in the US F&G industry exists in the Environmental drivers,” the study found. “They are the most important but consumers are the least satisfied with the industry’s overall performance across them. More than 3 in 10 consumers are not satisfied with the industry’s performance on any of the four Environmental drivers – with reducing emissions & climate change both the most important AND the lowest scoring driver of satisfaction measured. Environmental drivers represent a significant opportunity for the Food and Grocery industry to raise their game to meet consumer expectations.”

Glow concluded that opportunities exist for F&G brands that align their ESG goals with consumer expectations. The industry ranked ahead of 20 others in the report, just behind supermarkets and convenience.

“The F&G industry is deemed to be one of the industries leading the way to a more sustainable future,” the study noted.

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