Consumers Across The Globe Are Willing To Change Their Behaviour To Become Healthier & Sustainable, New Survey Shows

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The results of a a newly released global consumer insights survey suggests that consumers are willing to change their lifestyles with ‘one’s wellbeing’ considered as the top area of interest for consumers in all markets, irrespective of age and demographic.

The survey, conducted by global market research firm GlobeScan across 27 markets, shows that people want to take care of themselves as well as the earth, especially given that according to the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), meat and dairy production are responsible for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The Healthy & Sustainable Living report highlights that consumers are willing to make changes to support their wellbeing and adopt sustainable behaviors such as adding healthy and nutritious foods to their diets with ingredients that are locally sourced. In addition, consumers want to cook more meals at home, spend time in nature, and include exercise in their daily lives.

Some of the other key findings were that to support these changes, consumers want healthy and sustainable living to be easy, accessible and affordable.

The research highlights that 40% (four in 10) of meat consumers would opt for a plant-based meat substitute if the price and taste are the same as conventional meat with a majority of the respondents belonging to heavy meat-eating countries like Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Recent data from the Good Food Institute on investments into alternative proteins show that 2020 funding reached an all-time high with a record US$3.1 billion poured into the space. 

In an interview with Sustainable Brands, CEO of GlobeScan, Chris Coulter said that there is a strong desire among consumers to change their lifestyles for the better. “Health is the area consumers across the globe would like to change the most — and it’s also the area where global consumers have made the most changes in the past year; perhaps unsurprisingly, given the global COVID-19 pandemic.”

Impossible Food’s Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics, Joe Lam said: “Most consumers want to eat better, and they have a lot of solutions to do that — whether just increasing fruit or veg in their diet or reducing their meat consumption. But when it comes to cutting out meat, trying meat alternatives is tough, because you’re trading off on taste. Consumers describe the existing solutions as ‘cardboard hockey pucks’. The bar is so low; that for a company like Impossible to come along and say, ‘We taste exactly like meat’ — people are super skeptical but curious. Once they do try it, their mind is blown because it’s broken that low bar assumption of taste. There are also consumers that actually think giving up meat isn’t healthy. We hear it a lot: ‘A meal without meat is not a meal’.”

There is a strong desire among consumers to change their lifestyles for the better. Health is the area consumers across the globe would like to change the most — and it’s also the area where global consumers have made the most changes in the past year; perhaps unsurprisingly, given the global COVID-19 pandemic

Chris Coulter, CEO of GlobeScan

Recently, Impossible foods cut its wholesale prices by double-digits globally, and then to make its plant-based burgers more affordable to consumers it lowered its suggested retail prices by 20% for U.S. grocery chains. Lam added: “As we lower our price, it’ll open the market up to consumers of non-organic grass-fed beef. Initially, there’s enough curiosity in the product for people to try it, even if it’s really high price. But price really becomes a factor during the repeat process and building that habit-forming behavior.”

It’s worth underlining that the research indicates that the wider audience still needs to be persuaded and that many consumers are not fully convinced about how sustainable lifestyle habits can improve their own health and be a boon for the environment.

While all consumers regardless of age want to improve their habits, Gen Z is more likely to change as they feel extremely guilty about their behavior with Baby Boomers the least likely to adapt and be environmentally conscious.

Most consumers want to eat better, and they have a lot of solutions to do that — whether just increasing fruit or veg in their diet or reducing their meat consumption

Joe Lam, Director of Consumer Insights and Analytics, Impossible Foods

Coulter said that apart from the health and environment aspects, business can play a critical role in helping consumers make these changes. “Brands must continue to innovate and invest — to make it affordable, accessible and delightful for people to make the change easy and permanent.”

Several brands such as Impossible Foods have been constantly innovating and are noticing positive responses from the market. Their competitor Beyond Meat joined forces with PepsiCo to set up a new joint venture focused on developing plant-based proteins called The PLANeT Partnership (TPP).

Elsewhere, Anglo-Dutch consumer goods behemoth, Unilever has set an ambitious target of €1 billion (US$1.19 billion) for its plant-based meat and dairy category that it plans to achieve within the next five to seven years.

Apart from alternative protein brands, home furnishing giant IKEA has also promised to convert 50% of its dishes at its restaurant section plant-based by 2025 and within the next five years, plans to boost the number of plant-based packaged food offerings to 80%.


Lead image courtesy of Tetra Images/Getty Images.

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