Demand for sustainable foods and beverages continues to grow. No denying that. More and more people see the value in eating green.
Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) has tracked more than 13,000 new sustainable food and drink products since 2005, and 84% of consumers say they regularly buy green or sustainable products.
Even so, many people are unaware of what all these eco-claims actually mean. It’s even hard to keep track of the latest green claim.
David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel points out:
“Packaging claims such as ‘recyclable’ or ‘eco- or environmentally friendly’ are fairly well known to consumers, but sustainable product claims such as ‘solar/wind energy usage’ or ‘Fair Trade’ have yet to enter the mainstream consumer consciousness. They may have heard of the terms, but they’d be hard-pressed to define them.”
Of those surveyed, 40% have never heard of the solar/wind energy usage claim. The 37% that have heard of the claim said they’ve never purchased food or drink bearing the claim.
Reduced carbon footprint/emissions is another lesser-known claim, as 32% have never heard of it. Thirty-four percent say they’ve never heard of the Fair Trade claim.
So, why do they buy?
According to Mintel research, 45% of sustainable food and drink users cite a perceived belief in superior quality as the reason behind their purchases. Browne says:
“These reasons vary in importance across different demographics. What’s most important to young adults may not be the primary deciding factor for affluent consumers. Marketers should consider this in their claims closely; noting that health, welfare, and safety are important for nearly all consumers.”
In the consumer survey, 42% say they’re concerned with food safety, and 43% say they buy sustainable food and drink because they’re concerned about environmental/human welfare.
I’ve noticed the growing trend of “humane” claims. Could it be that humane is the new local? More and more products are touting humane treatment of farm animals and you can begin to spot “certifications” on package labels. Have you noticed?
There are two main humane certification programs that attempt to validate the humane treatment of animals throughout the production process: American Humane Society has the “American Humane Certified” program, and there’s the “Certified Humane Raised and Handled” program that’s endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other organizations.
Have you bought any products with these humane labels? Expect to see a lot more animal-based products making this claim in a store near you.