F&B needs to focus on environment and health

F&B needs to focus on environment and health

Tetra Pak has revealed findings from a global study in partnership with research firm Ipsos on the two most pressing consumer demands: the environment and health. The two have historically been seen and communicated as separate areas, however they are increasingly converging, creating opportunities for food and beverage brands in how they market their products over the next 12 months.

The study showed that two thirds of consumers now believe that we are reaching an environmental tipping point, overwhelmingly seeing themselves as being directly responsible for the world around them, and for their own health. With environmental issues becoming more evident in daily life, their concerns about the impact on their health are also growing. Nearly 60% of consumers now believe that their health and well-being are strongly affected by environmental problems.

Tetra Pak says that food and beverage brands have an opportunity to drive change through the way they communicate with their consumers on these topics, to meet this growing and pressing need.

New consumer segments

To support brands with navigating this journey, the Tetra Pak Index 2019 reveals six new segments of consumers, each with their own 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. 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. Engaged and willing to take action about the environment. High engagement also on most aspects of health, especially for peace of mind.

Health Conscious: aware and engaged about the environment, but prioritise health over the planet. Prepared to pay more and sacrifice convenience for healthy products. 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. Sizeable mainstream cohort with interesting potential, want to know more and be persuaded and energised to act. Look to TV/radio more than the average.

Laggards: lack of knowledge and interest in all aspects of health and the environment. Sceptical about technology and change. Look to their own 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.

For the UK, it’s younger consumers in particular who 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%).

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

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

Gisele Gurgel, director business insights and analytics Tetra Pak, said: “Food and beverage is perhaps the first industry to see the emerging trend for convergence of health and environment. It provides a new opportunity for brands to make a powerful, purposeful and personal connection with consumers by addressing and communicating both at the same time.

“Many consumers are eager to read and learn more about the environment, including package-related topics (39%) particularly via social networks. In particular, the sweet spot is natural/organic products; no additives, and seasonal also rate highly in this regard. In terms of categories, 100% fruit juice, white milk, packaged water, coconut water and plant-based drinks are the most compelling.”

Read the full report here

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