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Europe: Consumers are concerned about environment and health, report

With two thirds of consumers now believing that we are reaching an environmental tipping point, consumers overwhelmingly see themselves as being directly responsible for the world around them, and for their health, according to a global study by Tetra Pak and Ipsos.

With environmental issues becoming more evident in daily life, their concerns about the impact on their health is also growing.

Nearly 60% of consumers now believe that their health and well-being are strongly affected by environmental problems.

Tetra Pak states the more concerned about the environment consumers become, the more health-conscious they become too.

Mental health is now considered equal to physical health: 67% of consumers agree that it is a major concern for society, with stress considered the most concerning from a personal perspective.

To support brands with navigating this journey, the Tetra Pak Index 2019 reveals six new segments of consumers, each with their attitudes around both health and the environment.

Each group presents clear opportunities for targeted products and messaging for F&B brands, in embracing the convergence of these topics:

– Active ambassadors: high engagement in all aspects of health and environment, willing to take action, challenge boundaries and influence others.

They look to fact-based sources such as scientists and academics, as well as NGOs for advice on the environment.

– Planet friends: willing to take action about the environment with high engagement on most aspects of health, but less inclined to challenge boundaries.

They are engaged and willing to take action about the environment.

They have high engagement on most aspects of health, especially for peace of mind.

– Health conscious: aware and engaged about the environment, but prioritise health over the planet.

They are prepared to pay more and sacrifice convenience for healthy products.

They also depend heavily on social media and other online sources.

– Followers: engaged enough with health and environmental issues to feel guilty about both, but not inclined to change behaviour or try new things.

This sizeable mainstream cohort has an interesting potential.

They want to know more and be persuaded and energised to act.

They look to TV/radio more than the average.

– Laggards: lack of knowledge and interest in all aspects of health and the environment.

They are sceptical about technology and change.

They look to their personal, real world networks, particularly towards friends and family.

– Sceptics: Aware of environmental issues, but inclined to decline them as fake news; traditional views on food and health.
One in five sceptics say they don’t take advice on the environment from any media channel.

Market differences

While the intersection of personal and planet health is generally on the rise globally, the level of maturity varies between countries.

In Brazil, consumers are more interested in eco-branded and natural products, marked with health, beauty and sustainable benefits alike.

The environment holds a vital place in Brazilian culture, due to the vast scale and biodiversity of nature here.

For the UK, younger consumers are connecting food, health and the environment, with many seeking to explore different diets: flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan.

Consequently there are many Planet friends here (+14%).

Meanwhile, China cites air pollution as the number one consumer concern for both health and the environment (50% and 70%).
As such, there is an over index of Health conscious consumers here (+14%).

Individual responsibility is rising

Environment is the number one global concern, and urgency is growing.

Consumers are making more informed choices over packaging, they are looking for environmental information in labelling and are purchasing environmentally-sound products even if they cost more. Food and beverage is a key catalyst here.

The number one change ambition for both health and environmental reasons is greater consumption of environmentally-sound food and beverage products.

Consumers now overwhelmingly see themselves as being the most responsible for both the environment and their own health, with little difference between the two (71% and 74% respectively), followed by government and politicians, while brands and retailers feature much lower down.

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