Consumers still want dairy, says study

Two-thirds of food and drink consumers look for information about how good products are for the environment, and this is particularly clear with dairy products, particularly as the industry has been the focus of much criticism, according to the FMCG Gurus Global and Regional Sustainability study (2019 – 26,000 respondents).
Despite concerns about the dairy industry and an increase in people looking to reduce their dairy intake, there are still consumers who are looking to increase their consumption. Although 46% of UK customers have decreased the amount of fresh milk, they have consumed in the last 12 months, almost as many – 44% – have increased it. Although it is important to recognise that consumers are interested in reducing meat and dairy consumption, or giving up on it entirely, it is also important to be aware that this phenomenon isn’t universal.
Meanwhile, concerns over sustainability increasingly drive consumer choices across the entire food and drink industry. As the consequences of global climate change become more visible and public awareness rises, people are increasingly motivated to reconsider what their purchases, and where their money goes and potential environmental activities they may support. There is also a feeling that environmentally friendly products are healthier, with an attitude of ‘good for me, good for earth’ often seen, further driving consumer’s shifts towards products that can make pro-environmental claims.
For example, 44% of consumers want to see environmentally friendly claims, and 59% would like positive claims about animal welfare featured. These attitudes also extend to other areas affected by the dairy industry: 52% say that they would like to see initiatives intended to treat farmers fairly, and 47% say that they would like to see information about a reduced carbon footprint or no carbon footprint.
FMCG Gurus analysis also suggest something that can be seen frequently across the food and drink markets: that consumers are looking to compromise their enjoyment and habits as little as possible for the sake of their beliefs. Although there is clearly a large number of consumers worried about environmental impacts and poor animal welfare, checking labels and making relatively minor changes are clearly not as likely to be effective solutions to these concerns as more radical changes like reducing or removing these products from their diets entirely might. Despite the number of consumers who say that they want to see claims about animal welfare, only 34% of consumers say that they check packaging, and only 45% of that numbers said that it would have a high or very high influence on their buying behavior.
Many consumers also admit that they struggle to make such large changes on a permanent basis. Looking at the FMCG Gurus global Health and Wellness study (2019 – 380,000 respondents), only 42% of consumers have made any attempt to reduce dairy in their diets, and more than a third of that number admit that it has been a struggle. As a result, what many consumers are looking for is reassurance, a way to feel like they are making a difference for the environment or animal welfare without giving up projects they enjoy.
This article is based on FMCG Guru’s global Health and Wellness report (2019 – 380,000 respondents) and the Global and Regional Sustainability survey (2019 – 26,000 respondents). For more information please contact FMCG Gurus at [email protected]

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