IGD research reveals that consumers are eager to be healthier and more sustainable in their food choices and consumers are looking for support to make positive changes.
Two-thirds (66%) of consumers are already changing their diets or are considering making changes to be healthier and more sustainable. However, consumers are also confused, with most overestimating how healthy and sustainable their diet is.
These are the findings from new research, Appetite for Change, launched by research and training charity IGD. The research explores a subject area around which the food and consumer goods industry and IGD share a joint ambition.
Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD commented: “Working with our colleagues in the industry we hope the Appetite for Change report will provide tangible inspiration to encourage steps towards behavioural change in consumers’ diets.”
Barratt continued: “The research reveals that consumers fall into three mindsets; those who are making changes to be healthy and more sustainable, those who are considering it, and those who see no reason to change. And because the majority (66%) of people in the UK are open to making changes to what they eat and drink, the scale of change can be phenomenal. It is this group of people that, with the help of industry, are actively looking for products and solutions that meet their needs."
Those consumers who rate the health and sustainability of their diets as eight or more out of 10 say some of the actions they are taking include increasing their intake of plant-based foods (42%) and increasing their fruit and vegetable consumption (58%). Almost a quarter (22%) of 18-24-year-olds are motivated by concerns about the environment to pursue a sustainable and healthy diet.
Some 41% of consumers perceive healthy and sustainable eating to be more expensive, making this the biggest barrier to change. Other barriers include liking the taste of their current diet (19%), being creatures of habit (18%) and the convenience of their current meal choices and the ease of cooking them (18%).
IGD has identified practical steps the food and grocery industry can take to encourage behaviour change for each of the different mindsets based around five core principles:
- Ease: Consumers are more likely to take smaller steps towards bigger change, for example adopting ‘meat-free Mondays’
- Signposting: Retailers need to use eye-catching signs to make the right choices easy and clearly highlight the benefits of healthy and sustainable products over any perceived negatives
- Placement: Positioning healthy and sustainable products in prime positions in-store, for example plant-based options next to meat options, will encourage shoppers to browse and experiment
- Product: Ensure healthy and sustainable options are appealing and inspiring, so that a plant-based meat alternative becomes an easy switch, offering convenience and familiarity
- Influence: Consumers are looking for inspiring ideas, using recipe cards and online influencers will help motivate and inspire them.