According to Tetra Pak’s Index 2023, based on research conducted by market research firm IPSOS which surveyed consumers in ten countries (Brazil, China, Germany, India, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the UK and the USA), consumers area adapting the way they eat in order to be more sustainable. Tetra Pak calls these consumers ‘climatarians’.
70% of these consumers stated their belief that healthy products shouldn’t harm the environment, while 54% said that they are willing to take responsibility for helping the planet through their own diet.
As well as overall sustainability, consumers are also concerned about more specific issues. For example, 38% of respondents said that food waste was a major concern.
Consumers also presented a largely positive view on the ability of technology to lead they way in making food consumption more sustainable, with 62% saying it could help achieve a more sustainable future. Nevertheless, some consumers were skeptical about the potential freshness of food created using technological innovations, speculating that it could be more processed than traditional foods.
Alongside sustainability, health is also becoming a greater factor in consumer choices. Over 70% of respondents look for healthy products over convenience. Furthermore, the cost-of-living crisis does not appear to have dampened consumers’ enthusiasm for health. In fact, while 60% of respondents said rising prices will limit access to healthy food, only 17% say they’d sacrifice food and drink products with health benefits when it came to making economic cutbacks.
Health and sustainability were seen by some respondents as synonymous. 50% believe that if a food or drink is not healthy for the individual, it is not sustainable for the planet. Furthermore, 67% of respondents believe that environmental issues have an impact on their health.
“The findings of this year’s Index are reflective of the direction we have taken in the last few years, to decarbonise the food industry and make food systems more resilient and sustainable,” said Adolfo Orive, President and CEO of Tetra Pak.
“In many parts of the world, people rely on products such as milk and juices for their daily nutrition, so it is critical to optimise their value chain with innovations in sourcing, packaging, processing and distribution, which is where we have been playing an active role together with our customers and suppliers.
“In addition, considering that the world will need 60% more food by 2050, we are complementing these efforts through technologies that can help explore new sources of nutrition - ranging from new plant-based sources to alternative proteins produced with biomass and precision fermentation. Both these areas are critical to contribute towards food system sustainability.”
He also acknowledged the vast potential of advances in food tech. “This area is developing quite rapidly, and it is difficult to predict when and to what extent it will succeed; but it is only through continued efforts and leveraging collaboration to explore every potential opportunity, that we will find solutions to the current food system challenges.”