Building back for a sustainable future

68% of consumers in Britain say they are trying to lead an environmentally friendly lifestyle. This week Reuben Pullan, CGA by NIQ Senior Client Manager, presented ‘Creating A Sustainable Future in Foodservice’ for Arena – The Hospitality Network, and explored the current state of the nation and how to build back for a sustainable future.
Reuban Pullen, Senior Client Manager

Here are 3 key takeaways from his presentation:


Consumer demand for sustainable practises

The category of ‘Engaged Activists’—those who are most likely to be motivated by environmental factors in CGA’s OPUS (On Premise User Survey)— make up 31% of British consumers but account for almost half of sector visits, highlighting the spending power of these eco-engaged consumers. Additionally, more than four in five (84%) are willing to pay more for food and drinks if they come from sustainable sources, 39 percentage points above the average consumer in Britain.


Over a third of Sustainability Activists would be less likely to visit or purchase in the future if they found out their favourite food or drinks brand was not a sustainable business—7 percentage points more than average. Poor performance from businesses in terms of sustainability also affects word of mouth, with nearly a third (31%) less likely to recommend a brand to others.


Progress has been made but operators still feel behind the curve

Business leaders (operators managing 5 or more sites) have made enhancements to their offering in the past two years, with more than half offering more vegetarian and vegan options and 47% reporting that they are becoming more sustainable overall. Nevertheless, 32% of business leaders rate themselves as ‘behind the market’ in terms of sustainability, outpacing the number who feel behind in ‘technology innovation’, and almost twice that of those who feel behind regarding ‘Ethics and Sustainability’.


Additionally, 72% of business leaders with cash reserves of more than 6 months are concerned about sustainability, as opposed to 59% of leaders with cash reserves less than 6 months.  2 in 3 express concern around financial and economic challenges relating to sustainability and their business in the next 12 months.


Locally sourced products

Business leaders report actively pursuing reduced waste initiatives to improve their sustainability credentials. While waste reduction ranks highly with consumers, 2 in 5 report that locally sourced products contribute to a positive reputation, making this the most important factor for consumers and outpacing waste reduction initiatives. Sustainable sourcing can be costly, but ‘support in becoming sustainable’ is the top ranked element that operators would be willing to pay higher product prices for.


The Business Confidence Survey from CGA by NIQ drew responses from leaders at CEO, MD, chair, board and other senior management levels, with combined oversight of nearly 10,000 hospitality sites. The research was conducted in February and April 2024. 


CGA by NIQ’s research solutions provide in-depth insights into the impact of sustainability on consumers’ engagement and purchasing decisions in the On Premise, helping suppliers and operators to develop compelling sustainability strategies to increase sales and share. To learn more, contact Reuben Pullan here

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