Consumer Confusion over Health and Sustainability

British consumers are confused about healthy eating and sustainability. New research by IGD reveals that two-thirds of consumers are already changing their diets or are considering making changes to be healthier and more sustainable. However, consumers are also confused, with many overestimating how healthy and sustainable their diet is.

Consumers who rate the health and sustainability of their diets as 8 or more out of 10 say some of the actions they are taking include increasing their intake of plant-based foods (42%), reducing their intake of meat (39%) and reducing their intake of dairy (23%). Consumers who rate their diet as average 7 out of 10 say they are increasing the amount they cook from scratch (58%) and increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption (58%).

Health is the primary driver for 58% of consumers to make improvements to their diet, however concern for the environment is growing, especially among younger consumers. Almost a quarter (22%) of 18-24-year-olds are motivated by concerns about the environment to pursue a sustainable and healthy diet.

In addition, 41% of consumers perceive healthy and sustainable eating to be more expensive, making this the biggest barrier to change. Other barriers include liking the taste of their current diet (19%), being creatures of habit (18%) and the convenience of their current meal choices and the ease of cooking them (18%).

According to Susan Barratt of IGD: “The research reveals that consumers fall into three mindsets; those who are making changes to be healthy and more sustainable, those who are considering it, and those who see no reason to change. And because the majority (66%) of people in the UK are open to making changes to what they eat and drink, the scale of change can be phenomenal. It is this group of people that, with the help of industry, are actively looking for products and solutions that meet their needs.”

Source: Talking Retail (11/03)