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Many consumers fail to actively engage with green brands

Published:  09 November, 2020

Sustainability in all its forms, from organic and Fairtrade to biodynamic, continues to play a growing part in food and drink manufacturing across the globe, not least in the wine industry. 

But how important are such claims to the shoppers? Will the fact that a product is environmentally friendly catapult it to the top of shopping lists? 

Somewhat surprisingly given the seemingly unquenchable thirst of Brits for all things ‘green’, while 65% of consumers say they want to buy purpose- driven brands that advocate sustainability, a mere 26% do so, according to a new Organics & Sustainability in Drinks report from C&C-owned data and insights company Proof Insight shared exclusively with Harpers. 

Moreover, the report found that 37% of British adults either “actively reject”, or say they are “unconcerned about environmental issues”. 

Just 11.5 million British adults (22%) actively want to protect the environment and buy sustainably, driven by ‘revellers’ and ‘appreciators’ (see terms explained below), with both those groups found to be “significantly more likely” to only buy products from companies that have “ethics and values” (43% compared to 26% GB average), said Proof. 

And quality comes first, then sustainable credentials, according to the research. 

“Only after consumers are convinced of the value and quality of a product will they consider whether it’s environmentally friendly, Fairtrade or organic,” said James Scott, MD, Proof Insight. 

The survey also found that while 71% of consumers don’t mind “paying extra for good quality products”, only 30% don’t mind “paying more for organic”. 

A more positive picture is painted when you look at ‘appreciators’, of which 71% were found to not mind paying more for products [not just organic] that are in general good for the environment. 

With 72% of British consumers thinking organic products are too expensive, Scott reiterated the importance of “only charging more” for the product “if it’s worth it”. 

He added: “Consumers aren’t buying alcohol to be healthier, so make sure your product’s flavour and quality justifies its price tag.” 

The business also highlights that the “right consumers” to target are not distributed evenly, urging brands to focus on geographies with high concentrations of ‘revellers’ and ‘appreciators’ and to identify specific retailers and outlets that attract these consumers. 

In addition, it highlights the importance of making it simple for consumers to “do the right thing”, pointing to the fact that 44% of ‘revellers’ say they “want to recycle, but it takes too much effort”, which is significantly higher than the 27% GB average. 

“Make it obvious why your product is good news – so it’s easy for consumers to feel good,” said Scott. 

Last, but not least, the research found that the terms “environmentally friendly” (26%), “sustainable production” (22%) and “Fairtrade” (21%) are more important than “organic” (18%) for UK consumers, with the latter “significantly more important” to ‘appreciators’ and ‘enthusiasts’, both groups more likely to have a higher average incomes. 

The research, which covers10,000 respondents [data source: You Gov Profiles Great Britain 2020-05-31 and Proof Insight: Comfort Around Lockdown Easing & Pourtraits Segmentation], follows Harpers’ two-part webinar, which considered the evolution of organic winemaking and the challenges and opportunities that this path delivers. 

Contact hello@proofinsight. com and quote HARPERS for a free copy of the report. 

Explanation of the Pourtraits, the consumer segmentation used by Proof Insight.
Enthusiasts – Highly engaged across all categories, enthusiasts drink often and are always looking for something new totry.
Revellers – Experience-led, social butterflies, revellers are looking for an up-tempo drink to express who they are.
Appreciators – Discerning tastes and a willingness to trade up, appreciators look for provenance and love to experiment.
Avoiders – Health and budget-conscious, avoiders have confidence in their decision not to drink alcohol.
Regulars – Creatures
of habit, regulars like the familiarity and value of the local.