Sustainability no less important in recession, survey

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Most grocery manufacturers have either maintained or increased their investment in sustainability during the recession a survey has found, indicating the importance it will play for businesses in the coming decade.

Market analyst IGD conducted a survey of 130 grocery suppliers in 10 countries, to gauge their views on market priorities in the current and recent economic climate, and perceived future challenges.

Eighty-five per cent of respondents reported stepping up their investment in sustainability or keeping investment levels on a par in the recession. The long-term outlook is underscored with the finding that 42 per cent do not think that sustainability yet occupies a high enough place on the consumer agenda.

Joanne Denney-Fitch, chief executive of IGD, said: “Manufacturers are looking further to the future, increasing investment in sustainable solutions and anticipating that shopper interest in green products is still in its formative stages. It is set to be a major feature in the marketplace in the coming new decade."

There is a sense that delivering on retailers’ briefs on sustainability will become more important for competitiveness. Seventy-six per cent of suppliers said they think it will become more important for their trading relationships.

As for other perceived threats to their businesses, 41 per cent said they expect there to be increased global competition for resource, and 40 per cent said they expected more complex legislation to pose problems.

An IGD spokesperson said a full report on the survey findings is not currently available.

However the report’s findings hold with the views expressed to FoodNavigator.com by industry executives.

In a video interview filming by FoodNavigator.com last month Alex Filz, head of communications for DSM Nutritional Products, said he has not seen sustainability slipping down the agenda in the recession.

But he added: “Its obviously something that would be very much far down the value chain. We are not sure whether that is because we are at the beginning of the value chain, or whether the consumer is still prepared to pay more for a more sustainable product.”

Related topics: Market Trends, Sustainability

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