NielsenIQ Report: The Rise of Sustainability

By Joshua Weatherwax

3 min read

February 28, 2022

Today’s consumers prioritize the health of communities and the planet, in addition to their own health. Sustainable brands built to serve these values are growing leaps and bounds.

According to NielsenIQ Connected Partner, the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 64% of the population feel more personally responsible for the protection of the environment than they have in the past—31% growth since 2009.

And 57% make decisions with an understanding of the effect the decisions will have on the health and sustainability of the world, its environment, and people—27% growth since 2017.

Why Sustainable? Why Now?

“Across many consumer segments we’re seeing more people say, ‘I’m willing to take action on environmental issues,’” says Sherry Frey, Total Wellness Leader at NielsenIQ. Health and wellness is now the single most powerful force influencing consumers worldwide. Consumers are more motivated than before the pandemic to preserve mental and physical wellness and to take proactive steps for health over the long term. The last two years have also greatly increased our awareness of social inequities and environmental impact, says Frey.

Do Good, Grow Sales

Sustainability is growing in six categories in particular: Dairy, meat, and pet products top the index, with grocery, health, and beauty, and produce not far behind.

Shoppers show considerable willingness to pay more for products with sustainable credentials. Ac cording to NielsenIQ research, 72% of surveyed respondents around the world say they would be willing to pay a premium for products that claim to be sustainable—where, 52% would be willing to pay a little bit more, and 20% of global consumers would be willing to pay a lot more for sustainable products.

NielsenIQ tracks sustainable product trends across five key areas: animal welfare, social responsibility, sustainable farming, sustainable forestry, sustainable packaging,   and sustainable resource management. Under these umbrella categories, there are more than 90 attributes, from B-Corporation status and fair trade to organic certification and family farming to water conservation, to animal-welfare claims like humane or free-range.

The Future of Sustainability

With concerns over the quality of raw materials for products, companies are committing to better vertical integration, like Above Foods, a plant-based company dedicated to a “seed-to-fork approach,” as stated by company chairman Douglas Hines when speaking to Forbes.

Consequently, with pandemic supply chain constraints and sustainability concerns, verticalization may become more popular. Companies are recognizing the need for connection to the land for sustainable management practices.

Regardless of your current sustainability products, you need to make decisions based on data and consumer trends. Fortunately, Byzzer can help by providing comprehensive reports that help you understand your shoppers’ behaviors better. Best of all, we’ll give you actionable insights so that you know what to do next.

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