Health and the environment are converging as top concerns for consumers, with almost 60 per cent of consumers believing their health and well-being are strongly affected by environmental problems, according to a new study from Tetra Pak.
The Tetra Pak Index 2019: The Convergence of Health & Environment report reveals that two thirds of consumers believe we are reaching an environmental tipping point, and that consumers see themselves as being directly responsible for the world around them and for their own health.
Environmental issues are the top global concern for consumers, at 63 per cent, followed by health at 46 per cent. According to Andrew Pooch, managing director of Tetra Pak Oceania, consumers are looking to make more informed choices around packaging, are seeking environmental information in labelling, and are buying environmentally-sound products even if they cost more.
“The convergence between consumers’ focus on health and the environment has created a unique opportunity for food and beverage brands, both globally and in Australia and New Zealand.
“Consumers locally are passionate and their purchasing decisions are often driven by their values and beliefs. By addressing both health and the environment in all aspects of a product – from source, ingredients, nutritional value right down to the entire lifecycle of the packaging, brands can create a more meaningful connection with consumers,” he says, adding that food and beverage is a key catalyst.
The report highlights that packaging, and recyclability specifically, are critical: "Recycling is now considered the #1 trait of an environmentally sound person. Recyclability is the joint top association with environmentally sound products and the third most appealing descriptor of a food or drink product overall."
The report identifies six new consumer segments, each with their own attitudes towards health and the environment:
- Active ambassadors, who have high engagement in all aspects of health and environment and are willing to take action, challenge boundaries and influence others;
- Planet friends, who are willing to take action about the environment with high engagement on most aspects of health, but are less inclined to challenge boundaries;
- Health conscious, who are aware and engaged about the environment, but prioritise health over the planet and are prepared to pay more and sacrifice convenience for healthy products;
- Followers, who are engaged enough with health and environmental issues to feel guilty about both, but not inclined to change behaviour or try new things;
- Laggards, who lack knowledge and interest in all aspects of health and the environment and are sceptical about technology and change; and
- Sceptics, who are aware of environmental issues, but inclined to decline them as “fake news”, and have “traditional” views on food and health.
Each offers its own opportunities for FMCG companies and packagers, says Tetra Pak.