Generations Divided over Paying Extra for Eco-Friendly Food

Shoppers in their 20s and 30s are far happier than those in their 40s and 50s to fork out a premium for food and drink products boasting a low carbon footprint, according to new research.

Some 58 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds are prepared to pay more for food and beverages with a low carbon footprint, while 49 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds also said they would be happy to pay more.

But as age increases, a person’s willingness to pay extra to guarantee the eco credentials of their food drops – only 35 percent of 35-to-44-year-olds and 35 percent of 45-to-54-year-olds express willingness to pay a premium, while just 31 percent of over-55s said yes.

The research, commissioned by food and drink sustainability experts AB Sustain, also revealed that shoppers in Greater London and Northern Ireland are the most prepared to pay a premium for environmentally friendly food, at 57 percent and 55 percent respectively, while those in the North East and the West Midlands are the least willing, at 23 percent and 25 percent.
More than 70 percent of those questioned said they were concerned about the issues of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, despite the rising impact of the recession. And 2 percent of those polled said they would be prepared to pay a premium of 50 percent or more for food with a low carbon footprint.

The research also revealed that almost 80 percent of shoppers want to see more supermarkets and food producers commit to tackling climate change, while nearly 70 percent of total respondents would like to see the entire food supply chain, including farmers and growers, manufacturers and supermarkets, put more effort as an industry into combating climate change and protecting the earth’s natural resources.

“The fact that 45 percent of our total respondents are quite open to the idea of paying a premium for food and drink with a low carbon footprint is encouraging – it shows people are still really interested in environmental issues and that retailers and food brands need to sit up and make sure they are providing sustainable products that tick the boxes for shoppers,” said Johanna Buitelaar Warden, head of business development at AB Sustain. “It is especially encouraging that younger shoppers are really engaged and getting to grips with these issues, as they are paving the way for future generations.”

AB Sustain, a division of AB Agri Ltd, the agriculture group of Associated British Foods, works with clients to develop and deliver sustainable supply chain solutions across food, agriculture and natural resources.


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