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With growing consumer concern about the state of the environment, a significant portion of consumers are actively changing their diets and lifestyles to be more sustainable. Consumers are recognizing the significant negative impact food production has on the environment. FMCG Gurus consumer insights reveals that 74% of consumers are concerned about the state of the environment. Due to this, consumers are seeking out food and drink brands which mirror their environmental values through production processes. As a result, these ever-growing consumer concerns are putting increased pressure on inadequate food supply chains, so it is crucial producers are operating with no or little impact on the planet. In doing so, producers should be using natural resources to address the key impacts of carbon emission and global warming, as well as ensuring the ethical treatment of farmers and producers.

Over the years, many brands have responded to this ever-growing environmental crisis and have adopted more sustainable practices and procedures across their supply chains. In the farming industry, smart agriculture and regenerative farming, despite being relatively new concepts, are gradually growing. Our insights suggest that many brands should be adopting such practices to aid sustainable initiatives and meet environmental requirements and consumer values, therefore driving demand for these food and drink products.

Regenerative Farming, Holistic, Ethical, Food and Drink, Carbon Emissions, Global Warming.

Brands Must Be Holistic

It is clear that consumers are concerned about environmental issues and are seeking out reassurance that agriculture has little impact on the environment, uses less harmful processes and and treats their farmers in an ethical manner. For example, FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that global consumers are concerned about various problems including carbon emissions (74%), global warming (74%), the ethical treatment of farmers (54%), as well as food wastage and shortages (74%). This demonstrates that consumers will be paying more attention to claims which highlight the reduction and elimination of harmful processes, such as carbon emissions. In addition, consumers will be looking for products that are Fairtrade and have been derived in an ethical way. From an environmental, ethical and financial perspective, food waste and food shortages are a key concern globally. Brands should ensure that they are using more resourceful procedures which minimize waste along the supply chain.

However, consumer concerns stretch beyond environmental concerns, to the direct impact of these polluting and harmful practices on consumers’ health and wellness. FMCG Gurus’ market research illustrates that 72% of consumers associate carbon emissions with causing damage to their health. This demonstrates that consumers value brands that produce food and drink responsibly and sustainably, in line with the environment and health. Products with natural and non-GMO claims are most appealing to 79% and 61% of global consumers. As a result, it is essential that brands make their sustainable initiatives and green credentials clear to consumers across their supply chains. Also, consumers should be promoting streamlined ingredients and free-from claims on product packaging to offer consumers maximum reassurance that ingredients are authentic and nutritious. This will make it easier for consumers to seek out products with a holistic approach to sustainability and health and deem products as multifunctional.

Regenerative Farming, Holistic, Ethical, Food and Drink, Carbon Emissions, Global Warming.

Provide Transparency

Through their diets, lifestyles
and shopping habits, consumers are trying to act more sustainably. As a result,
58% of global consumers are more attentive to ingredient listings on food and
drink products. This suggests that consumers are not only less trusting of the
policies and processes carried out by food and drink brands, but are also avoiding
ingredients that are harmful to the planet and health.   

Larger multinational brands are
deemed less trustworthy to consumers. This is due to a common belief among
consumers that these brands often present misleading claims to charge a premium
price. Skepticism for false or exaggerated claims stem from many instances of greenwashing
from brands. To combat this, brands must support their sustainable and health
claims with clinically proven evidence. In addition, another step brands can
make to negate skepticism is by providing consumers with a clear and transparent
supply chain, which will demonstrate the story of how their food and drink is

FMCG Gurus predicts that across this next decade, the growth of blockchain technology will be able to facilitate brands in communicating their environmental initiatives and grant easy access for consumers to view the supply chains of products.

Regenerative Farming

Regenerative farming is a process which ensures soil, water,
land and natural resources are protected, along with minimal carbon emissions. FMCG
Gurus consumer insights illustrates great consumer trust around this smart agricultural
practice. For instance, 4 in 5 consumers say that they would trust a brand more
who are involved in regenerative farming. The reasons that consumers trust regenerative
farming are due to the practice being better for the environment, improving
animal welfare and making consumers feel that they are doing their part for the
environment. Consumers deem regenerative farming as having various holistic benefits
towards the individual and the wider environment.

Importantly, consumers are not very familiar with regenerative farming certifications, including B CORP, Regenerative Alliance and A Greener World. Our findings show that only 31% of consumers are familiar with Regenerative Alliance. This suggests that brands should be doing more to educate consumers about the certifications linked with regenerative farming and the positive reasons behind how brands are awarded them. If brands raise awareness around these certifications, this will generate ease for consumers when seeking out food and drink products with multiple benefits.

This article is based on FMCG Gurus: The Needs for Regenerative Farming – Global Report – 2023. For more information, please click here.