Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability has remained at the forefront of American consumer concerns, with 69% of supermarket shoppers saying they are trying to reduce their impact on the environment as much as possible, according to an upcoming report to be released. published by the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council (CCRRC) of North America.
The study, “Sustainability and Food Retail: A Practical Guide to Integrating Sustainability and Supporting the Community During COVID-19 and Beyond,” which will be released the week of September 27, was conducted in partnership with Murphy Research. The results show that the pandemic has put the supermarket back at the center of the community, with consumers valuing food retail employees much more and turning to local stores to show social and environmental leadership.
An overview of the report will be presented during the National Grocers Association Executive Conference in Las Vegas on Saturday, September 18, ahead of the NGA Show September 19-21.
“With consumers increasingly considering and acting on sustainability issues in customer and shopping, now is the time for supermarkets to actively examine the opportunities and challenges facing the industry, in order to better align with these growing consumer sentiments,” said researcher Michael Sansolo. Director of CCRRC North America. “Shoppers want local supermarkets to help them practice sustainability, and failure to do so could mean losing shoppers down the road.”
The study revealed that 60% of consumers believe food retailers should help their employees and the local community in addition to making a profit. Consumers say they’ll pay 4% more at a food retailer that supports their community and the environment, and drive 6.5-10.9 minutes longer to a store with a higher impact .
The most popular initiatives that consumers say they want retailers to adopt are:
• Provide recycling bins on site
• Labeling of locally produced/grown products
• Offer points/prizes for waste saved through purchases and/or recycling
• Provide biodegradable bags for products
• Sell products in a wider variety of sizes to help limit food waste
Embedding sustainability practices and policies in stores will be increasingly important to connect with the future consumer, according to the report. Generation Z is passionate about the environment more than any other generation, with 56% consider environmental sustainability at least most of the time when shopping.
“The supermarket industry should view these results as an opportunity to lead in an inevitable and important space,” said John Ross, CCRRC Chairman, CEO of IGA Inc. expect the retailers they visit to share and act on their sentiment, and ultimately doing the right thing will be good for the bottom line.
Since its creation in 1978, the Coca-Cola Retail Research Council (CCRRC) has produced reports on issues that help retailers respond to changing market conditions.