Lower prices prioritized over sustainability despite rising awareness of food’s environmental impact

ByLois C

May 28, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

According to IFIC’s recently released 2022 Food and Health survey of more than 1,000 US adults, more than half of Americans believe their food and beverage purchases impact the environment – a significant increase from 42% last year.

Of those who believe their dietary choices have a significant or moderate impact the environment, younger consumers, including Millennials and Gen Xers notably over-index at 67% and 53% compared to 50% of Gen Zers and 34% of Boomers, according to the study, which is in this 17th​ year.

Likewise, IFIC found, parents with children younger than 18 years were more likely to believe diet impacts the environment at 69% versus 41% with no children under 18 years. Those with higher education and household incomes were also more likely to hold these beliefs.

But, the survey reveals, far fewer consumers act on this belief with only 39% reporting that environmental sustainability impacts their decisions about what food and beverages to buy.

More important to most consumers is taste, which 80% of survey respondents prioritize when buying food and beverages, as well as price (noted by about 70% of respondents) and healthfulness and convenience, noted about 60% of respondents for each, IFIC reports.

And even though environmental sustainability remains the lowest purchase driver of those measured by IFIC, it is up notably from 27% in 2019 – providing some positive reinforcement for companies investing in environmental sustainability initiatives.

Consumers will pay more – to a limited extent – for environmental products

Even as environmental sustainability gains ground as a purchase driver, very few consumers are willing to pay significantly more for eco-friendly products all other things being equal.

By Lois C