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Greener is Better?

Consumer demand for sustainable food and drink continues to grow, and companies are increasing the supply, as the Mintel Global New Products Database has tracked more than 13,000 new sustainable food and drink products since 2005.

While 84 percent of consumers say they regularly buy green or sustainable food and drink, some are unaware of what the claims actually mean. “Packaging claims such as ‘recyclable’ or ‘eco- or environmentally friendly’ are fairly well known to consumers, but sustainable product claims such as ‘solar/wind energy usage’ or ‘Fair Trade’ have yet to enter the mainstream consumer consciousness,” said David Browne, Mintel senior analyst. “They may have heard of the terms, but they’d be hard-pressed to define them.”

Of those surveyed, 40 percent have never heard of the solar/wind energy usage claim. The 37 percent that have say they’ve never purchased food or drink bearing the claim. Reduced carbon footprint/emissions is another lesser-known claim, as 32 percent have never heard of it. Thirty-four percent say they’ve never heard of the Fair Trade claim.

According to Mintel research, 45 percent of sustainable food and drink users cite a perceived belief in superior quality as the reason behind their purchases. Meanwhile, 43 percent say they buy sustainable food and drink because they’re concerned about environmental/human welfare and 42 percent say they’re concerned with food safety.

“These reasons vary in importance across different demographics. What’s most important to young adults may not be the primary deciding factor for affluent consumers,” Browne said. “Marketers should consider this in their claims closely; noting that health, welfare, and safety are important for nearly all consumers.”

Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, with offices in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo.

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