Seeing Sustainability Soar in 2018

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What makes you pick one type of cereal, juice, bread or milk over another while you are shopping? Purchases we make can be influenced by a variety of factors, with some having more influence than others.

Our 2018 Food and Health Survey has uncovered various insights on what drives people when they make food and beverage purchase choices. It turns out that some factors are more significant than others. One of them happens to be sustainability. Check out our new video and read more below about how this “values factor” impacts how people decide what ends up in their pantries and refrigerators.

The importance of sustainability in food production grew larger in 2018, with 59 percent of people saying it was important that the foods they purchase and consume be produced in a sustainable way, jumping up from 50 percent in 2017.

Out of those 59 percent who believe sustainability is important, their top two most important individual factors of sustainability increased significantly over 2017: 33 percent in 2018 said “reducing pesticides” was their top priority, up from 27 percent in 2017, while “ensuring an affordable food supply” increased to 16 percent in 2018 from 10 percent last year.

But how does the desire to make sustainable purchases match up to more time-tested purchase drivers such as “taste” and “price?” Taste still reigns supreme (as it has every year the Food and Health Survey has been conducted), with 81 percent saying it has at least some impact in their buying decisions; price was cited by 64 percent of consumers as having an impact.

Trailing behind, 39 percent of people said sustainability impacts their purchase choice. Not too shabby, and certainly a purchase driver to keep an eye on.

Sustainable practices in food production are certainly key in maintaining a reliable food supply, and it looks like consumers are certainly clued into this “food fact.” Sustainability and many other factors like food safety, animal health and farming technology also support a diverse and steadfast food system.

While consumers define what is sustainable differently, these values-based factors are playing a bigger and bigger role in consumers’ purchases—and the evidence indicates it’s a trend that won’t end any time soon.