Great Minds - Shifting Behaviours: Sustainability's Impact in FMCG

Consumer habits are constantly evolving and brands have a unique opportunity to capitalise on emerging behavioural trends, but they have to get it right.

Consumer habits are constantly evolving and brands have a unique opportunity to capitalise on emerging behavioural trends, but they have to get it right.

One of the biggest consumer trends, accelerated by the pandemic, is sustainability. From switching to plant-based to ditching single-use plastics, FMCG brands need to understand the key themes within sustainability and act credibly, authentically and appropriately if they are to win over consumers.

Join McCann Strategy and research expert, Mark Broughton-Foxall, and Veganuary co-founder and Veg Capital Managing Director, Matthew Glover, for an insightful discussion as we explore the shifting consumer behaviours in sustainability.

This session took place at 10am on Thursday 24th February. Missed it? Catch up below.

Sustainability’s Impact in FMCG: Everything You Need to Know
Sustainability is increasingly becoming part of everyone’s agenda. It’s no longer a subject for a concerned minority, nor is it a value-add or differentiator for brands. In 2016, 19.9% of people felt personally at risk from climate change. In 2021, that increased to 49.9%.

As climate change concerns grow, brands have a unique opportunity to help their customers make more sustainable choices. 51% of UK consumers are worrying witnesses – they’re concerned about climate change and want to make more sustainable choices, but they feel powerless.

The five sustainability implications for FMCG brands:

Climatarian diets
Both ethical and environmental motivations impact people’s choices when it comes to food and drink. It’s no surprise that there’s been a huge growth in the plant based category. Sales of meat substitutes have more than doubled over the last decade, whilst 33% of UK consumers are adopters of dairy alternatives and a further 33% are considering switching. To stand out in a growing category, Matthew recommends focusing on five key pillars: “price, taste, convenience, purpose and shit-hot marketing.”

Eco transparency
60% of consumers are interested in checking how ethical a product is before buying; they want to know the impact of their purchases. For FMCG brands, consumers are making their decision at the fixture. Marketers therefore need to consider how they can help consumers navigate the choices on the supermarket shelves and make an informed decision.

Packaging
71% of UK consumers are consciously trying to minimise their use of plastic and many brands are moving towards more sustainable packaging. However, there is much more that could and should be done both in terms of educating consumers and within the supply chain.

Waste
In the UK, 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in a single year – the equivalent weight of 52 blue whales. Whilst many organisations are doing fantastic work around energy recovery from food waste, FMCG food and drink brands need to start thinking about how they can encourage and help consumers to waste less food.

Green washing
As marketers, we have an opportunity to make a positive impact, but we need to do it in a way that is genuine, credible and authentic. A CMA coordinated review of randomly selected websites has so far found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading to consumers. To avoid inauthentic, vague, or unsubstantiated claims, marketers should refer to the CMA Green Claims Code.

As sustainability continues to be at the forefront of consumers’ minds, brands and marketers need to be conscious of their impact. Not only in providing consumers with accessibility, choice and clear information, but also more broadly. Supply chain, packaging, portion size and even media choices and websites all contribute to the bigger sustainability picture.

Want more? Watch the full webinar here or get in touch.

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