Sustainability considerations now influence most grocery shoppers when buying packaged foods such as potato chips and cookies, according to Cargill’s global FATitudes survey.
The proprietary research finds 55% of consumers indicate they’re more likely to purchase a packaged food item if it includes a sustainability claim, a four-point jump since the company last fielded this research in 2019.
“Our latest findings clearly demonstrate that messages surrounding sustainability are having an impact on consumers,” said Nese Tagma, MD of strategy and innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business.
The survey was conducted in summer 2021 (June to September), included approximately 6,000 primary grocery shoppers in 11 countries.
The countries include Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, the UK and the US.
In this most recent round of research, an increased interest in sustainability was the most notable change from the previous survey’s results.
More than half of the countries surveyed showed an increase in the influence of sustainability claims, with the change most evident in these countries:
· Brazil and Mexico, which both saw 13 point increases in the purchase impact of sustainability claims between 2019 and 2021.
Sustainability claims now drive purchase decisions for 74% of consumers in Brazil and 66% in Mexico.
· India posted double-digit increases, too, with 67% of consumers indicating they were more likely to purchase packaged food with sustainability claims, up 11 points from 2019.
· In the UK, Cargill found 51% of consumers now say they place a greater emphasis on sustainability, an eight point jump in just two years.
· US consumers were also more attuned to sustainability claims; 37% indicated they were more likely to purchase packaged food with a sustainability claim, a six point increase compared to 2019 results.
For the first time, the survey also asked consumers what type of sustainability claim they were looking for.
“Sustainably sourced” and “conservation of natural resources” topped the list, ranking well ahead of more specific claims such as Fair Trade, reduced packaging and fair/living wages in most every country included in the survey.
“These insights further affirm our commitment to embed sustainable practices into every aspect of our operations,” said Florian Schattenmann, chief technology officer and vice president of innovation and R&D for Cargill.
“This includes everything from our sourcing practices to processing facilities, and even extends to new product development, where decisions to commercialize innovations now consider sustainability alongside performance and cost.”
Cargill currently has regenerative agriculture programs for row crop oilseeds and palm oil certified responsibly sourced by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
In the coming year, Cargill will expand its North American portfolio of RSPO-segregated palm oil to include palm stearin and palm olein products.
RSPO-segregated palm products are also available in Europe, Russia, Australia/New Zealand and Malaysia.
The company is also investing in a new palm oil refinery in Indonesia and upgrading capabilities at its specialty fats facilities around the globe.
When complete, the new and expanded facilities will help Cargill meet the evolving expectations around sustainability, as highlighted in the current global FATitudes consumer research.
Alongside these efforts, the company is also helping food manufacturers address the growing interest in consumer health.
In December 2021, Cargill became the first edible oils supplier to commit to removing industrially-produced trans-fatty acids (ITFAs) from its entire global edible oils portfolio, in line with the World Health Organization’s best practices.