NEWS23 October 2018

Price still a barrier to ‘conscious’ shopping

Europe FMCG News Retail Trends

UK – European consumers increasingly favour FMCG retailers with sustainability credentials but many are still reluctant to pay more for local and organic products, according to research from IRI.

In a survey of 3,300 shoppers across the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Germany, seven out of 10 respondents identified favourably with companies that demonstrate strong sustainability credentials, such as respecting the environment, using recyclable packaging and having low food miles.

However, price is still a barrier, with almost half of respondents ( 48%) reluctant to pay a premium for locally sourced and organic food.

Italian consumers showed the strongest propensity for buying products from companies who demonstrated good sustainability credentials. Shoppers in Italy scored highest in three out of the four survey questions related to packaging ( 81%), food miles ( 83%), and fairness, transparency, honesty and integrity ( 81%).

In the UK, consumers were most likely to identify a preference for retailers using sustainable packaging ( 73%). Retailers’ attitude towards the environment and their food miles were both a concern for 67% of UK shoppers, while 65% identified a preference towards fairness, transparency, honesty and integrity.

Additionally, two-thirds of consumers in the study ( 67%) said they would prefer to buy products from retailers that used alternative and renewable energy.

Olly Abotorabi, senior regional insights manager at IRI, said: “Shoppers are more aware than ever of the ethical and environmental impact their purchases can have on the environment. The sustainability credentials of retailers can be a decisive factor for many European consumers’ purchasing decisions. However, it’s clear that the price point of certain categories, such as fresh local produce, remains a barrier to growth.”

IRI interviewed 3,334 shoppers in Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands, focusing on five macro-categories – packaged food, fresh produce, beverages, frozen food and personal & beauty care. Responses were divided by young millennials ( 18-24 ), older millennials ( 25-34 ) and Generation X (over 35 years old).