Globally, consumer understanding of sustainability and its importance in their lives continues to grow. Given the power that consumers have in driving demand and transforming industries, International Fresh Produce Association launched this critical research to explore consumers’ attitudes towards sustainability as it relates to their produce purchases in 5 of the world’s top consumer markets (U.S., U.K., Germany, China, and Brazil). Understanding consumer sentiment in these countries helps ensure that the produce industry’s efforts and communications are aligned with their consumers’ attitudes and expectations.
The results revealed key findings, including
- Although sustainability is an important issue in all countries explored in this study, it is not always a top consideration when buying produce because shoppers in most countries often prioritize personal benefits such as quality/freshness and price over environmental benefits.
- Across the 5 countries explored in the study, shoppers consider Recyclable Packaging highly meaningful as a sustainability issue and one that stimulates concern, yet they are less likely to consider Social Compliance and Community Involvement as sustainability issues.
- Across all 5 countries explored in this study, Air Pollution and Waste Production rank in shoppers’ top three concerns with produce packaging.
- Shoppers in 4 out of the 5 countries say that fully recyclable plastic is the most appealing material for produce packaging. Biodegradable plastic is also an appealing option in most countries, while paper-based material is a top preference in only 2 countries.
At its core, sustainability allows an entity to continue to do business today without destroying the inputs or environment for the future. As alternative produce packaging options become more accessible and produce companies enhance their sustainability efforts, this research can help them align their messaging with their consumers’ expectations.