Why consumers are shifting to a more sustainable and humane way of living (and what it means for cpg manufacturers)

By Sara Sprenger

5 min read

December 7, 2021

Now, more than ever, today’s consumers feel awakened to how their purchases and experiences affect not just their health but also their community and the planet. From wanting to buy goods that support environmental, ethical, humanitarian, or other philanthropic causes, consumers are making several sustainable moves today. So, what does this mean for consumer packaged goods manufacturers and brands? 

Let’s dive in.

A more responsible and sustainable lifestyle for the consumer

Before looking at what CPG brands should do, it’s essential to get a real sense of who today’s sustainable consumers are. For instance, if you asked someone what “sustainability” meant 10-15 years ago, they may respond with “recycling.” While that’s still a key component in many shoppers’ minds, sustainability encapsulates much more. For many consumers, their baseline expectations for products are clean, simple, and contain sustainable ingredients. This means that these products are ones that won’t negatively impact the planet or their bodies. Others look to buy from socially responsible organizations or make their goods with animal wellness in mind. That’s backed by a strong, double digital growth in searches for “vegan” and “cruelty-free” products. 

Diving deeper, consumers want brands to be transparent about their products and their impact on their health and the planet. Often, “healthier” grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts are not within a short driving distance for shoppers, which can make them feel defeated as they seek to lower their carbon footprint. Fortunately, more mainstream stores such as Target actively put “carbon-neutral” and similar attributes on their product packaging. Likewise, brands like Tide have created 100% plant-based laundry detergent, and Amazon has pledged to go carbon neutral with half its shipments by 2030. With 34% of global consumers agreeing that they are more likely to buy sustainable products and 68% willing to pay more for products that support communities and vulnerable groups, these brands are primed to attract these responsible, sustainable consumers.

What sustainable, clean-living means for manufacturers

As noted, shoppers want to understand better if a product aligns with their values as they shop online and in-store. Brands that take the time to highlight elements like clean-living (aka simple, clean, sustainable ingredients) will not only meet this demand but win loyalty with these shoppers. That results in more purchases over time. Manufacturers can attract these consumers by: 

  • Sharing their sustainability initiatives and differentiators on products and other branding opportunities, such as a corporate website 
  • Claiming the appropriate clean and sustainable attributes on product packaging and online descriptions 
  • Pledging to be more socially responsible, follow-through, and market their story 
  • Researching emerging trends, like “low-waste” products, to get ahead of the curve
  • Creating robust strategies around consumer sentiment and behaviors to win market share
  • Tracking progress to iterate over time with enhanced insights

Measuring insights on sustainable attributes

Now, the above all may seem a little daunting, especially if you’re relatively new to the world of sustainability. But sustainability is a business imperative and should not be ignored. How do you accomplish some of the items listed above? The most tangible way is to utilize the right tools that help you connect with current health and wellness consumers. Total Wellness can help you make data-driven decisions by providing access to more than 500 attributes across expertly curated attribute groups – like sustainability-related ones. With a combination of expertise, machine learning, and AI, you’ll be able to capture, structure, and transform on-package information to inform pricing, uncover trends across industry and more, and drive revenue. 

Want to learn a little more? Then watch our on-demand webinar, “Driving Sustainability in CPG: Win for your business, win for the planet.” You can always book a demo here as well.

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