2023
9
UK Sustainability in Food Market Report 2023
2023-02-08T03:07:27+00:00
OX1103447
2195
160384
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Report
en_GB
"Sustainable food and drink has not been immune to the wider struggles within the food and drink sector amid tougher financial times. As people are prioritising making their budgets go…

UK Sustainability in Food Market Report 2023

£ 2,195 (Excl.Tax)

Description

The UK Sustainability in Food Market Report identifies consumers’ attitudes towards sustainability in food products, consumer behaviour around sustainability in the food and beverage industry, and relevant trends and opportunities for individuals, brands, and companies to inform strategy.

Sustainability in Food: Industry Overview

Nearly four in five food and drink shoppers intentionally choose products with a sustainability claim for at least some products. However, only a minority do so all or most of the time. Additionally, amongst those opting for food/drink products with sustainability claims, almost two-thirds say the rising cost of living will make this aspect less important to them.

This presents a current consumer base that is keen to engage with sustainable food products, but is understandably hesitant to pick sustainability over other factors. Sustainability battles with other considerations like taste, price and convenience, that have a more immediate personal impact on shoppers and often take priority.

Sustainability Trends and Opportunities in the Food Industry

With the majority of UK adults choosing sustainable food/drink saying the cost of living crisis will affect their sustainability buying habits, there is an opportunity for suppliers to appeal to these consumers. Brands and supermarkets can highlight budget friendly sustainable food options that could provide an incentive for consumers to engage more with the sustainable food market.

‘Traffic light’ style sustainability labels hold strong potential for driving engagement with sustainable food and drink, as over half of people say these would be helpful. This points to how the many and varied aspects of sustainability can make it difficult for consumers to weigh the green credentials of products against one another, and that current trials of this style of labelling are heading in the right direction.

Over a third of consumers who choose sustainable food products state that they would choose a product that limits food waste over another. Highlighting the link between reducing food waste and cost savings, and sustainable products that are more budget friendly, may help to keep consumers engaged during current financial difficulties.

  • Sustainable food market consumer behaviours: 46% of people who buy sustainable food/drink would prefer a more sustainable, synthetically produced product over a less sustainable, naturally produced one.
  • Food industry sustainability challenges: 65% of those who opt for food/drink with sustainability claims say the rising cost of living will make this aspect less important to them.
  • Food industry and sustainability innovation: 59% of people say traffic light sustainability labels would be helpful.

The Future of the Food Sustainability Industry

The drive to make food and drink production more sustainable has resulted in investment and innovation across the industry. One such example is synthetically produced food and drink. As discussed, almost half of consumers who choose sustainable options would be open to synthetic alternatives. This may indicate that going forward, consumers will be receptive to changes and innovation within the industry.

In 2024, an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme is set to come into force. This aims to ensure producers pay the full net cost of managing – among other types of packaging – food and drink packaging at end of life, thus incentivising them to ensure that products placed on the market are recyclable and to minimise unnecessary packaging material.

To discover more about sustainability in food in the UK market, read our UK Everyday Sustainability Market Report, or take a look at our extensive Sustainability Market Research.

Our Sustainability in Food Market Report Helps You to Quickly Understand

  • Regulatory changes relating to sustainability in food.
  • Recent trends in food and drink product launches making links to sustainability.
  • Barriers to buying sustainable food and drink products.
  • Consumer behaviours relating to sustainability in food, including openness to synthetic products.
  • Consumer attitudes towards sustainability in food, including interest in ‘traffic light’ labels.

Covered in this Report

Products: This Report explores consumers’ usage of food and drink products with sustainability claims. Sustainability regarding packaging falls mostly outside the scope of this Report, and is discussed in UK Attitudes Towards Drinks Packaging and others.

Brands: Hippeas, Mighty M.lkology, Wunda, Quaker Oats, Jude’s, Ivy’s Reserve, Wyke Farms, BrewDog, Jubel, Onken, Actimel, Activia,  Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Ocado, Marks & Spencer, Co-op, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Food & Drink Specialist

This report, written by Angharad Goode, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the sustainable food market and add expert context to the numbers.

Sustainable food and drink has not been immune to the wider struggles within the food and drink sector amid tougher financial times. As people are prioritising making their budgets go further, this issue has become less of a focus for many. However, helping consumers to reduce food waste, eco labelling and synthetically produced foods and drink are all areas that pique consumer interest, and represent avenues for brands to explore in the longer term.

Angharad Goode - Research Analyst
Angharad Goode

Research Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Topics covered in this Report
        • Executive Summary

            • The five-year outlook for sustainable food and drink
              • Figure 1: Outlook for interest in sustainability in food and drink, 2023-27
            • The market
              • Income squeeze challenges importance of sustainability
                • Figure 2: Agreement that rising cost of living will make the sustainability of food and drink products less important, 2022
              • Government sets out new food strategy
                • Environmental Land Management Schemes replace CAP farm subsidies
                  • COP15 sets goal to protect 30% of land and waters
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Environmentally friendly product claims continue to gain share of food and drink launches
                        • Figure 3: Share of UK food and drink product launches with an environmentally friendly product claim, 2017-22
                      • Industry bodies turn to consumer advertising
                        • The consumer
                          • Four in five choose products with sustainability claims
                            • Figure 4: Frequency of choosing sustainable food and drink products, by age and financial situation, 2022
                          • Price prevents more engagement for half
                            • Figure 5: Barriers to choosing food/drink products with sustainability claims over others more often, 2022
                          • Combatting food waste appeals to consumers
                            • Figure 6: Most appealing sustainability-related claims when choosing food/drink, 2022
                          • Sustainable yet synthetic holds potential
                            • Figure 7: Behaviours related to sustainability in food, 2022
                          • Consolidating sustainability information appeals to many
                            • Figure 8: Attitudes towards sustainability in food, 2022
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Rising cost of living makes sustainability less of a priority
                            • Food waste becomes focus for grocers and consumers alike
                              • Consumers seek clarity and reassurance from certifications
                              • Market Drivers

                                • Inflation is the key concern for consumers and brands…
                                  • …and despite government support, energy prices are still a major concern
                                    • Rising interest rates mean that the pressure will move up to middle- and higher-income households
                                      • High inflation and rising interest rates will compound the impact of the slowing recovery
                                        • Consumer spending power will be curbed
                                          • Unemployment is at a near-50 year low
                                            • Consumers’ financial wellbeing has fallen from the highs of 2021…
                                              • Figure 9: Household financial wellbeing index, 2009-22
                                            • …and most people are feeling the effects of price rises
                                              • Income squeeze challenges importance of sustainability
                                                • Figure 10: Agreement that rising cost of living will make the sustainability of food and drink products less important, 2022
                                              • Meat reduction trend halts in 2022, plant-based milks hit by income squeeze
                                                • Courtauld Commitment 2030 spans food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and water stress
                                                • Regulatory and Legislative Changes

                                                  • Government sets out new food strategy
                                                    • Reviews and inquiries put a further spotlight on eco labelling and soil health
                                                      • Environmental Land Management Schemes replace CAP farm subsidies
                                                        • Genetic Technology Bill suggests sustainability benefits
                                                          • COP15 sets goal to protect 30% of land and waters
                                                            • EU laws set to expire automatically at the end of 2023 under Retained EU Law Bill
                                                              • DRS to begin in Scotland in 2023
                                                                • Plastic Packaging Tax comes into force, Extended Producer Responsibility due in 2024
                                                                • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                    • Environmentally friendly product claims continue to gain share of food and drink launches
                                                                      • Figure 11: Share of UK food and drink product launches with an environmentally friendly product claim, 2017-22
                                                                      • Figure 12: Share of UK food and drink product launches with sustainable resource-related claims, 2017-22
                                                                    • Chorus of supermarkets ditch ‘best-before’ dates in selected fresh food
                                                                        • Figure 13: Sainsbury’s ‘no date’ call out and Onken ‘Too Good to Go’ label, 2021-23
                                                                      • Various brands put a spotlight on green specifics and soil
                                                                        • Figure 14: Hippeas packaging revamp with details of chickpeas’ low water and fertiliser use, 2022
                                                                        • Figure 15: Mighty M.lkology packaging outlines CO2 and water impact, 2022
                                                                      • Dairy and ready meals brands tackle carbon
                                                                        • Figure 16: Examples of dairy products with carbon-related claims on-pack, 2022
                                                                      • BrewDog launches carbon-neutral beer
                                                                        • Figure 17: BrewDog Lost Planet First Lager, 2021
                                                                      • RSPB relaunches Fair to Nature scheme, Red Tractor explores eco label
                                                                      • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                          • Lavazza uses gamification to drive eco message in the metaverse
                                                                            • Industry bodies turn to consumer advertising
                                                                              • AHDB champions green credentials of British farming
                                                                                • Dairy UK launches consumer-facing ad to highlight progress on sustainability
                                                                                  • Alpro and Innocent spotlight helping the planet
                                                                                    • Alpro positions itself among planet-friendly choices
                                                                                      • Innocent’s 2021 advert focuses on “helping people and the planet”
                                                                                        • Birds Eye supports Green Cuisine relaunch
                                                                                          • Lactofree and Pepsi MAX highlight new packaging
                                                                                            • Pepsi MAX calls out recycled plastic
                                                                                              • Lactofree highlights greener cartons
                                                                                                • WRAP looks to demonstrate link between food waste and climate change
                                                                                                • Prevalence of and Barriers to Buying Sustainable Food and Drink Products

                                                                                                  • Four in five choose products with sustainability claims
                                                                                                    • Most reach for sustainable products, but conflicting priorities make them a rare choice
                                                                                                      • Under-45s are most engaged with sustainable choices
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Frequency of choosing sustainable food and drink products, by age and financial situation, 2022
                                                                                                      • Price prevents more engagement for half
                                                                                                        • Price is a key barrier with cost of living making sustainability less important
                                                                                                          • Sustainable choices spark feelgood among shoppers…
                                                                                                            • …that budget-friendly sustainable choices can tap into
                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Barriers to choosing food/drink products with sustainability claims over others more often, 2022
                                                                                                          • Most Appealing Sustainability-related Claims

                                                                                                            • Combatting food waste appeals to consumers
                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Most appealing sustainability-related claims when choosing food/drink, 2022
                                                                                                            • Most supermarkets offer ‘wonky’ veg
                                                                                                              • Many brands are innovating with surplus ingredients…
                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Rubies in the Rubble Tomato Ketchup, Toast Ale and Squished Energy Balls made with surplus ingredients, 2018-22
                                                                                                              • …with more scope to communicate this and explore new areas
                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: ICA Broccoli Pieces and Makea Moka Sugar Confectionery, 2021-22
                                                                                                                • Combatting waste in the supply chain can win consumer goodwill
                                                                                                                  • The grocers make the connection between saving money and avoiding food waste
                                                                                                                    • Figure 23: M&S Fresh Pasta Dine In shelf label guidance on suitability for freezing and Tropicana ‘Too Good to Go’ label, 2022
                                                                                                                • Behaviours Related to Sustainability in Food

                                                                                                                  • Sustainable yet synthetic holds potential
                                                                                                                    • Figure 24: Behaviours related to sustainability in food, 2022
                                                                                                                  • Molecular drinks report to sharply cut carbon and water footprint
                                                                                                                    • Cell-cultured products could be on the menu
                                                                                                                      • Consumers are open to unusual ingredients if they are sustainable
                                                                                                                        • Interest among the young bodes well for growth of novel ingredients
                                                                                                                          • Insects remain little explored
                                                                                                                            • Food waste and foraged ingredients can gain buy-in by spotlighting sustainability
                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Zirp Eat For Future Zirp Burger Patties and Rubies in the Rubble Banana Ketchup, 2020-21
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards Sustainability in Food

                                                                                                                            • Consolidating sustainability information appeals to many
                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Attitudes towards sustainability in food, 2022
                                                                                                                            • Eco-Score and Eco Impact labels are being trialled
                                                                                                                              • Figure 27: Better Naked Pork Chipolatas with Eco Impact score, 2022
                                                                                                                            • External certifications bolster trust for half of consumers
                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 28: Selected claims in UK beer launches, 2018-22
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 29: Selected claims in UK wine launches, 2018-22
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – The Consumer – Consumer Priorities when Buying Food and Drink Products

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Consumer priorities when buying food and drink products, 2022

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