NEWS12 September 2013

US shoppers ignore sustainability says report

North America UK

US — Most US consumers ignore sustainability when grocery shopping and are largely apathetic compared to European counterparts, according to a report from design research agency The Big Picture.

According to the study, most North Americans would not select a product with ‘sustainable’ credentials because those products were isolated in separate aisles in US supermarkets, requiring consumers to consciously seek them out.

In addition US shoppers appear to have a general lack of knowledge about the benefits of sustainable production.

In Europe, German shoppers lead the charge, being the most sustainably focused, or ‘ethical-elites’, while UK consumers ranked second with a combination of ‘ethical-elites’, ‘feel-gooders’- those that buy some sustainable products – and ‘ethical-apathetics’ – those yet to be convinced.

The Big Picture said that the findings would make crucial reading for FMCG companies, in particular giants such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and P&G, that have signed up to lead an international, cross company effort to tackle consumer lifestyle issues in 2010, to deliver sustainable consumption by 2050.

Senior vice-president of The Big Picture’s newly opened US offices in New York Stuart Costley, said: “Brands clearly need to look at educating consumers on the benefits of choosing sustainable products. There is also a need for recognisable logos that identify sustainable brands, such as the Fair Trade mark in the UK. This is where a coherent partnership approach between brands, industry groups and other interests could make a mark.”