Consumers expect shared responsibility for the health of the planet, finds Innova

07/07/2022 – Sustainability / Innova / Consumer / Environment / FMCG / Brands

Consumers expect shared responsibility for the health of the planet, finds Innova

For several years now, issues related to transparency and building consumer trust have headed up Innova’s Top 10 Trends. By 2022, these trends had zeroed in on environmental issues and a shift in key consumer concerns about the environment. Even in a pandemic, the health of the planet took over as the top global concern, ahead of population health.


“For the first time ever, more consumers surveyed globally for Innova’s Lifestyle & Attitude Survey, say health of the planet is their top global concern, rather than health of the population,” says Lu Ann Williams, Insights Director at Innova Market Insights.


Food waste reduction leads other consumer actions to be more environmentally responsible. Close to half of consumers are cutting food waste and 63 per cent say that they would like to eat at a restaurant that actively prevents or reduces food waste. As many as 20–25 per cent also adjusted their product choices for environmental reasons, such as choosing foods with environmentally friendly packaging and choosing sustainably grown products.


Boom in products with ‘green’ claims


Product launches are positioned to meet consumer expectations. Those carrying environmental claims are growing at three times the pace of total food and beverage activity. Ethical claims regarding the environment increased their share of total food and beverage launches from 4.4 per cent in 2016-2017 to 6.6 per cent in 2020-2021, for a 17.3 per cent CAGR over the five years ending Q3 2021. 


Growth is even faster for specific issues. In the five years ending Q3 2021, launches of food and beverages using upcycled ingredients rose at a CAGR of 122 per cent, compared with growth of 59 per cent for products using recycled plastic, 49 per cent for products with water saving claims, 47 per cent for products carrying carbon emissions claims and 36 per cent for palm-oil-free products. Europe drives claims regarding palm oil, with 88 per cent of all launches with ‘palm oil free’ claims made on the continent.


Cost and unclear communication can be barriers


Cost can be a barrier to shopping with the environment in mind. Nearly three in 10 consumers say that it’s more expensive to buy more environmentally friendly products. Still, over half of consumers say they are willing to pay extra for F&B products that are devoted to solving global issues such as plastic waste (64 per cent), ocean pollution (63 per cent), and food waste (62 per cent).


Yet clear communications from manufacturers are essential. “In our Innova Trends Survey 2021, 55 per cent of consumers globally say that there are too many environmental labels and they don’t know what to look for,” notes Ms Williams. “Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed globally agree or strongly agree that they prefer one label that captures the complete impact on the environment over multiple labels.”


Innova Market Insights at IFT 2022 in Chicago


Innova Market Insights will be presenting new data on all the key consumer trends driving the industry at booth #S1175 at the IFT FIRST Annual Event & Expo https://www.ift.org/events/annual-event-and-food-expo in Chicago from 10-13 July 2022. In-booth presentations will highlight health strategies in beverages, Innova’s Top 10 Trends 2022, plant-based: the canvas for innovation, positive nutrition for holistic health, trends and opportunities in the sweetener category, and ‘who’s snacking on what: consumer insights’.

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