The growing apprehension surrounding climate change is altering consumer behavior. Kantar, a data analytics firm, recently published a report documenting that environmental conscientiousness is shifting consumption choices, particularly on sales of meat and single-use plastic items.
Of the 65,000 people surveyed in 24 countries across Asia, Europe and Latin America, one-third expressed worry about the environment. Roughly half of those people, or 16 percent of total respondents, actively take steps to decrease their environmental impact.
“We’re already seeing small reductions in spending on meat, bottled drinks and categories such as beauty wipes,” Kantar revealed. “As markets get wealthier, the focus on issues of environmentalism and plastics increases.”
The poll further disclosed that Western European respondents were more engaged in reducing environmental impact compared to their Asian and Latin American counterparts. Austrian and German shoppers ranked as the most ‘eco active,’ followed closely by British consumers. But 37 percent of the Chilean respondents proved to be eco-conscious, thus making Chile the environmental nonpareil of Latin American countries.
Kantar asserted, “Our study shows there is high demand for eco-friendly products that are competitively priced and readily available.”
Just last month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change conveyed the urgency that global meat consumption must decrease to help reverse global warming. Furthermore, the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions can be accelerated by the rise of plant-based food consumption and production.
Consequently, there has been market expansion in plant-based protein and other alternative offerings to meat. Companies like Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and even London-based Moving Mountains Foods have become more mainstream with many of their flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan products appearing on restaurant menus as well as wholesale and retail grocery store shelves. Because meatless protein is still a fledgling industry, competitors are likely to emerge in the near future as a response to the call for cutbacks to meat and dairy.
Meanwhile, recent legislative bans against single-use items such as bottles, straws, carrier bags and other plastic packaging have helped. Surging global awareness of the environmental damage wreaked by plastic has hiked restrictions, in turn, denting demand for their production. With recycling efforts and sustainability initiatives gaining momentum in today’s world, both the meat and plastics industries are being called upon to adapt to the changing consumer landscape.
Image via Beth Rosengard