Engagement with sustainability can help operators and suppliers improve reputations and grow sales, CGA’s ‘Food Insights Report 2021’ report reveals.
It highlights consumers’ growing environmental and ethical concerns, and the pressure on all brands now to respond to them. More than two thirds (69%) of consumers now think it is important that the food they buy is ethically sourced, while similar numbers say they keep sustainability in mind when deciding what to eat (69%) and where to eat it (72%). Two thirds (67%) consider food wastage policies important in their decision-making.
Many consumers—especially younger adults—are willing to pay a premium for good practice in these areas. Two in five (40%) of all consumers are willing to spend extra on a meal if ingredients are sustainably sourced—a figure that rises to 59% among 18 to 34 year-olds, but falls to 27% among those aged 55 or over.
The exclusive report points to ways operators and suppliers can raise awareness of their commitment to sustainability—especially through education. More than a third of consumers admitting to little understanding of the sustainability of venues they visit (36%) or the food they choose (34%).
With two in five (42%) thinking pubs, bars and restaurant don’t communicate the sustainability aspects of their food options enough, there is a big opportunity for venues to bridge the knowledge gap. Menus and websites are people’s two most preferred sources of information, with adverts, social media, booking platforms and staff among other potential channels. Accreditation can help too, with more than half (53%) of consumers likely to order meals that have evidence of quality and sustainability awards.
This research shows that environmental and ethical issues are front and centre of consumers’ minds as they return to hospitality,” says CGA client director Chris Jeffrey. “Any consumer-facing food business needs to properly understand the sustainability agenda and communicate very clearly what they are doing to respond. Suppliers have a crucial support role to play—not just by sharpening their own practices, but by helping operators educate guests and improve the visibility of their sustainability measures. With public interest only likely to grow, investment here is likely to pay off in consumers’ loyalty, recommendation and spend.”
The full ‘Food Insights Report 2021’ is available from CGA now. It contains actionable insights into sustainability and many more issues and trends to help suppliers, wholesalers and operators provide consumers with good experiences and sharpen sales, marketing and brand strategies. Opportunities are available for bespoke analysis and consumer segmentation for specific target markets.