On average, Americans are willing to spend 31 percent more per week on grocery food produced safely and responsibly, according to the Conscious Consumer™ Study issued today by Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications.
“Conscious Consumers are voting with their wallets, creating challenges for food and beverage marketers across their entire supply chain,” said Jeffrey R. Graubard, managing director of Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications. “Consumers increasingly choose brands aligned with their values while penalizing brands that disappoint them. It’s Darwinian — survival of the fittest — and those companies that flourish are able to communicate resonant values consistently and transparently.”
The Conscious Consumer Study was conducted online in August 2014 among 2,010 U.S. adults by Harris Poll on behalf of Gibbs-rbb. Key findings include:
- On average, Americans are willing to spend 31 percent extra per week on safe and sustainably produced grocery food for their household. U.S. households spend an average of $119.30 per week on grocery food, and consumers are willing to pay an additional $37.30 per week, or 31 percent more, on food that is produced in ways that advance the wellbeing of the environment, people and safety of food sources.
- Controversial news emerging from food supply chains can affect consumer loyalty. With price being equal, most Americans say they are likely to switch from a food brand they trusted if they learn that the company was involved in product recalls (77 percent), practices that harm animal welfare (73 percent) or irresponsible labor practices (72 percent).
- Health, safety and waste reduction are significant considerations in decisions to buy food. With price being equal, most U.S. adults consider nutritional content (88 percent), food safety (87 percent) or food waste (78 percent) as important when making food purchases for their households.
- Trusted personal contacts, journalists, retailers and food businesses are important sources of information about the CSR activities of food companies. Most Americans rate word-of-mouth discussions (71 percent), news media (68 percent), content supplied by food retailers (66 percent) and content provided directly by food companies (66 percent) as important in their efforts to learn how food companies advance the wellbeing of the environment, people and safety of food sources.
- More women than men consider the wellbeing of animals and laborers as essential factors in preserving their trust in food brands. With price being equal, female consumers are more apt than their male counterparts to say they would switch from a food brand they trusted if they learned that the company was involved in irresponsible labor (78 percent vs. 65 percent) or animal welfare (79 percent vs. 67 percent) practices.
- More women than men say sustainable packaging and workplace conditions are key considerations in their food shopping choices. With price being equal, female consumers are more likely than their male counterparts to consider sustainable packaging (76 percent vs. 69 percent) and labor practices (72 percent vs. 64 percent) to be important when making food purchases for their households.
Gibbs-rbb provides integrated communications solutions to food, beverage and consumer packaged goods (CPG) clients, based on a holistic understanding of supply chains and global issues impacting brand loyalty and purchases among consumers. The Conscious Consumer Study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Gibbs-rbb from August 27-29, 2014 among 2,010 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
The Conscious Consumer Study echoes Cone Communications’ 2014 Food Issues Trend Tracker, released in March, which found that Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars in order to eat more consciously. Although family satisfaction still reigns supreme (97 percent), health and nutrition (93 percent) and sustainability (77 percent) are now also important factors when deciding which foods to buy. Nearly nine-out-of-10 Americans (89 percent) said they consider where a product is produced when making food-purchasing decisions, and two-thirds (66 percent) would pay more for food that is produced close to home.