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Sustainability Is Still the Gold Standard for Shoppers

Blue Yonder survey finds consumers put a premium on green-friendly products
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Shopper interest in sustainable products has grown in the past year.

Sustainability is still front of mind when it comes to how consumers choose the goods they purchase, according to a recent survey from Panasonic-owned software and consultancy company Blue Yonder. The survey found that 48% of respondents said their interest in shopping with an eye toward sustainability in the past year has increased, while 74% of consumers have shopped at a retailer promoting their products as sustainable at least once in the past six months.

Additionally, 69% of shoppers said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable products, but only 4% would be willing to pay 20% more. Price was the most important factor when making a sustainable purchase for 58% of respondents, with apparel, cleaning products and beauty products being the items consumers were most amenable to paying a premium for.

[Read more: "Aligning Key Packaging Trends With Sustainability Goals"]

Erin Halka, senior director of industry strategy for Blue Yonder, explained to Progressive Grocer at this week’s Shoptalk event in Las Vegas that customers are now more aware of the impact that either the products they are buying have on the environment or also of where their food comes from.

“When customers are looking from a sustainability perspective, they’re thinking about what goes into their body,” Halka said. “That really is what impacts food retailers because one of the most important things when customers are looking at shifting their loyalty are food, household goods and wellness.”

Some 56% of respondents were indifferent or unsure whether they could trust brands’ sustainability claims when it comes to their manufacturing, supply chain, or recycling and waste practices. Consumers are more interested in hearing from their peers than corporations on the subject, with 32% or respondents indicating that consumer reviews carry the most weight in their sustainable purchasing decisions.

This was a particularly interesting point of delineation for Halka, who explained that today’s consumers are increasingly looking for reviews and more information on what it means to be a sustainable good, and that the onus is now on grocers to find ways to deliver.

“They’re not just buying one item that has that profile to it, they’re buying multiple items,” Halka explained. “Then they are using customer reviews to be able to give them that information – ‘Is this reality? What was your experience?’ – and they’re listening a lot to their peers, as well. I think the pandemic did unlock that.”

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