Market research firms Packaged Facts and The Hartman Group have joined forces in a collaborative partnership that will result in a series of four reports each deciphering the attitudes and behaviors of sustainable goods consumers in relation to specific consumer products. “Consumers and Sustainability: Food and Beverage” is the first market study published in the four-part series. The food and beverage market is central to consumer perceptions of sustainability. When the consumption of sustainable foods is motivated by personal benefits, adoption mirrors a health and wellness progression in which consumers first consider the impacts of things in the body, followed by on the body, and finally around the body. Therefore, as consumers become more educated about the environmental, social, and economic implications of foods and beverages, their health and wellness motivations dovetail with societal concerns, such that food shopping choices become salient to the four zones of sustainability:
- The Personal Benefit Zone
- The Environmental Zone
- The Social Zone
- The Economic Zone
“Consumers view the food and beverage category as key to sustainability, perceiving organic and locally grown foods, fair trade products and the ethical treatment of animals as ways to positively impact their community and the world,” says Tatjana Meerman, Publisher of Packaged Facts. “In addition, ‘freshness,’ although not technically contributing to sustainability, is considered important because foods and beverages that are closest to their natural state appear to have a direct connection to the earth.” Sustainability consumers have modified their behavior in response to economic hardship; however, tradeoffs and cutbacks are less likely to be curtailed for products these consumers view as essential to their quality of life, most notably in food. So marketers are responding by upping the sustainability credentials of their private-label lines, opening up another pathway to sustainable-at-a-discount shopping. At the current intersection of sustainability awareness and financial downturn, the market is ripe for food and beverage products that allow consumers to shop more sustainably, but also spend less money. Source: “Consumers and Sustainability: Food and Beverage,” conducted by Packaged Facts in conjunction with The Hartman Group, August 17, 2009. Website: www.packagedfacts.com.