Survey: Majority of Shoppers Consider Sustainability When Buying Packaged Foods

Minneapolis, MN—Sustainability considerations now influence the majority of the world’s grocery shoppers when buying packaged foods, according to Cargill’s most recent global FATitudes survey.

Specifically, the research found that 55% of consumers are more likely to purchase a packaged food item if it includes a sustainability claim, a four-point jump since the research was last performed in 2019.

“Our latest findings clearly demonstrate that messages surrounding sustainability are having an impact on consumers,” said Nese Tagma, Managing Director of Strategy and Innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business, in a press release. “Insights like these help guide our consumer-focused approach to innovation, enabling us to partner with customers to co-create new products and solutions that reflect current consumer trends and ingredient preferences.”

The survey, conducted in summer 2021, included approximately 6,000 primary grocery shoppers in 11 countries. More than half of the countries surveyed showed an increase in the influence of sustainability claims. Some of the bigger numbers come from:

  • Brazil and Mexico, which both saw 13 point increases in the purchase impact of sustainability claims between 2019 and 2021. Sustainability claims now drive purchase decisions for 74% of consumers in Brazil and 66% in Mexico.
  • India posted double-digit increases, too, with 67% of consumers indicating they were more likely to purchase packaged food with sustainability claims, up 11 points from 2019.
  • In the U.K., Cargill found 51% of consumers now say they place a greater emphasis on sustainability, an 8 point jump in just two years.
  • U.S. consumers were also more attuned to sustainability claims; 37% indicated they were more likely to purchase packaged food with a sustainability claim, a 6 point increase compared to 2019 results.

Related: Ubuntoo Releases “Plastic Promises” Report
Aker BioMarine Receives Top Sustainability Rating
Collab Between Danone, FrieslandCampina Results in 17% GHG Reduction

When asked what type of sustainability claim they were looking for, consumers pointed to “sustainably sourced” and “conservation of natural resources,” which ranked well above more specific claims such as “Fair Trade,” “reduced packaging,” and “fair/living wages” in most every country.

“These insights further affirm our commitment to embed sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations,” said Florian Schattenmann, Chief Technology Officer and VP of Innovation and R&D for Cargill, in the press release. “This includes everything from our sourcing practices to processing facilities, and even extends to new product development, where decisions to commercialize innovations now consider sustainability alongside performance and cost.”