CHICAGO — Consumer demand for sustainable food and beverage products is continuing to grow with 84% of consumers saying they regularly buy sustainable foods and beverages, according to Mintel International.
But some consumers are unaware of what the claims actually mean.

“Packaging claims such as ‘recyclable’ or ‘eco- or environmentally friendly’ are fairly well known to consumers, but sustainable product claims such as ‘solar/wind energy use’ or ‘fair trade’ have yet to enter the mainstream consumer consciousness,” said David Browne, senior analyst at Mintel. “They may have heard of these terms, but they would be hard-pressed to define them.”

According to the survey, 40% had never heard of the solar/wind energy usage claim, and while 37% said they had heard of the claim these consumers had never purchased food or beverages with the claim. Thirty-two per cent of consumers had never heard of reduced carbon footprint/emissions, and 34% said they had never heard of the fair trade claim.

Consumers are still buying sustainable products, though, with 45% of consumers saying they believe the products have a superior quality, 43% concerned about the environment and 42% concerned about food safety.

“These reasons vary in importance across different demographics,” Mr. Browne said. “What is most important to young adults may not be the primary deciding factor for affluent consumers. Marketers should consider this in their claims closely; noting that health, welfare, and safety are important for nearly all consumers.”