Consumer trends heavily impacted by sustainability

New research conducted by IRI shows consumers are more likely to look for environmentally sustainable products than ever before. 

The research showed that 55 per cent of those surveyed try to purchase environmentally friendly products. Through extensive analysis, consultation and market testing, IRI has identified seven key areas of action needed for businesses to meet the demands of shoppers with a sustainability mindset, which it has dubbed the seven ‘R’s of sustainability – recycle, reduce, remove, relationships, range, reassure and representation. 

The study showed that climate action and economic growth are not mutually exclusive and the two must go hand-in-hand, with a forecasted economic growth loss of $3.4 trillion by 2070 if they do not. 

The previously relatively stable climate has enabled economic growth, but with climate change currently taking a toll on the earth and shoppers realising this and actively making purchasing decisions based on their concerns, businesses will have to adapt. 

Daniel Bone, Insights Director, Asia Pacific said: “The results pose challenges and opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to meet the fast evolving needs of shoppers. While COVID has captured the attention of many, sustainability has become a critical issue for Australian shoppers. Our research shows that Australian shoppers do care about sustainability and they are actively making purchasing decisions based on their concerns. 

“68 per cent of shoppers connect packaging with sustainability. Interestingly, they also prioritise waste reduction. When we asked shoppers to pick the top three things they most closely associate with sustainability, 53 per cent said their number one issue is reducing by- product/waste, followed by minimising environmental impact at 47 per cent and thirdly, a commitment to using renewable resources at 38 per cent.”

This eco-friendly mindset not only impacts what consumers are buying but where they are buying from, with 50 per cent of shoppers stating that it is important to them that the outlet they shop with offers a range of sustainable products. 

“Shoppers have spoken in the strongest possible terms about their views on sustainability – they want to save the planet and feel that they can help do this on a daily basis by making informed and proactive purchasing decisions with their food and grocery shopping,” said Bone.

Australians, due to lockdowns and environmental disasters, have realised they are on the forefront of the impact of climate change.

“A sense of eco-anxiety is being felt by Australians now. We feel uniquely vulnerable if we think about some of our national treasures that have been impacted by climate change such as the Great Barrier Reef and of course the devastating impact on our nature of those bushfires. 

“And because of the lockdown, grocery growth has creeped back up into double digits which equates to more packaged goods consumption in our homes which increases our waste footprint and becomes more visible to us,” Bone added.

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