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Slowly, consumer awareness is growing about the environmental impact of food.

Slowly, consumer awareness is growing about the environmental impact of food.

Dive Brief:

  • According to a Kearney report, consumer awareness about the climate impacts of food choices is steadily growing. According to a new Kearney report, four out of five consumers have some knowledge about the climate impacts of food. But, half of these consumers say they don’t buy the most environmentally-friendly foods because it is too expensive. Many are also reluctant to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet.
  • 27% of consumers think about the environmental impacts of food while shopping at the grocery store. This is more than 25%. 83% of respondents said they would substitute beef for another meat or plant protein once a week.
  • Many CPG and ingredient companies have sustainability plans that address issues such as reducing carbon footprint, decreasing waste, and transitioning to better ingredients. Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to buy sustainable products if they are clearly labeled.

Dive Insight

Kearney’s report coined a new term to describe people who make conscious choices about what they eat. The study, which was based upon a survey of 1000 Americans last month, and other statistical data, shows that the number Climavores has been steadily growing. Kearney’s analysis has shown that Google searches have increased in the past five year for keywords about the carbon footprints of many food categories. While searches on dairy’s carbon footprint have increased nearly a third, those looking at beef’s have gone up 18%.

The study found that younger consumers are more likely than older consumers to be concerned about climate change. The study found that those aged between 18-44 years are twice as likely to think about the environmental impact of their food choices. These young adults are the ideal target audience for many food companies, as they have the potential to be financially secure and can also have families.

Kearney predicts that the majority of Americans’ food choices will be climate-focused by 2030. This could be due in part to global warming, but it could also be due more people caring about climate change. This report attempts to provide a roadmap for what this could mean for food companies today.

One of the most striking findings is the decline in popularity of plant-based diets for climate change. Kearney’s survey revealed that 38% of omnivores surveyed said they weren’t likely to purchase plant-based options in the next 12months. This is 6 percentage points less than the previous year. Only 19% of respondents said they were very likely or very likely to purchase these products. This is down from 31% in 2021.

A large percentage of consumers claimed that they are unable to choose a vegetarian/vegan diet. This is a major obstacle to choosing climate-friendly foods. 40% of those who were not aware of the environmental effects of food stated that this was their biggest obstacle. Another quarter of those who felt alienated from plant-based alternatives said that they wanted “real food”.

These beliefs also extended to people who are more aware about how food impacts the earth. A third of those who were somewhat conscious also said that they don’t want to be vegetarians and vegans. Around 16% of both these groups stated they prefer “real food.”

Manufacturers must convince consumers that they can change their negative perceptions to make plant-based food more appealing to them. Alternative analogs are becoming more prevalent on shelves. It is important that they prove that the products taste great and can satisfy customers’ hunger. It could make a huge difference to achieve price parity with traditional products. Consumers are still primarily concerned about the price of a product and would be more inclined to purchase a plant-based alternative if it was the same or lower.

See Also

Manufacturers must continue to reduce the environmental impacts of their products. This is partly due to the fact that consumers can support certain aspects of their purchases, such as sourcing more climate-friendly ingredients or fewer animal-derived components. According to a Cargill Fatitudes survey, 55% of consumers could be influenced by manufacturers pointing out these aspects on product packaging.

Consumers are not aware of the impact that energy and water use can have on the environment. Manufacturers should talk more about their efforts here. This could help increase sales and raise awareness of the connection between sustainability and food.

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