October 14, 2022

SIAL Insights sheds light on consumer appetite for CSR

With expert partners – Kantar, ProtéinesXTC and NPD, SIAL Insights offer visitors direct access to unprecedented analysis of the world’s major consumption trends and their developments

The analysis, centred around three themes including consumer expectations, product innovations and restaurant behaviour, is designed to help industry members navigate tomorrow’s food challenges

Part of the unique study looked at consumer attitudes towards the environmental, ethical issues and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

It found 36% of consumers are paying more attention to environmental and ethical issues, and 11% have already radically changed how they eat for one of these reasons.

Demand for local and seasonal produce is also on rise, with 68% of consumers choosing local first. Often, local products are viewed as being higher quality, better for the environment and helping the local economy. This growing desire has likely been amplified by the pandemic, the study suggests.

It also indicates Europe is leading the charge compared to the rest of the world when it comes to environmental and ethical concerns. Particularly in Italy and France, where it was an important factor for 40% and 37% of consumers respectively.

These concerns extended to food products outside of the home, with 70% of French consumers and 80% of Italians saying they wanted restaurants to engage in CSR and contribute towards sustainable development.

The study also found plant-based diets were growing in popularity, with more people opting to follow a full “flexitarian” diet – mostly plants, but some optional animal products. When it comes to dining out, 29% of Europeans said they preferred establishments where the menu also offered vegetarian/vegan options.

Plant-based substitutes for dairy products are also proving to be a hit with consumers and there has been an increasing amount of innovation in this field in Europe and Asia. These products are being consumed both at home and out, in the form of drinks, dietary supplements and vegan meals.

Vegetarian options are growing across all out-of-home catering channels in France, but the fast food sector is leading the pack, accounting for 65% of veggie, animal free orders. The key to this success? The adoption of world cuisine products such as vegan sandwiches, poke bowls, soups and wraps.

In light of these trends, there is a growing number of initiatives seeking to describe ‘product performance’ in terms of CSR. Today these are primarily focused on reducing carbon footprints, but animal welfare is also fast becoming a key selling point.

Whatever the issue at hand, clear specifications and regulations will be vital to avoiding any confusion, especially in a field where consumers are demanding honesty and transparency, the report suggests.

The fight against waste in particular is emerging as an accessible and iconic behaviour towards sustainable consumption. Consumers often applaud these initiatives as they respond to both environmental and economic concerns.

SIAL Insights sheds light on what mealtimes will look like in the future

Based on three international studies conducted by Kantar (consumer expectations), ProteinesXTC (agrifood innovation) and The NPD Group (out-of-home catering), SIAL Insights aims to provide the “keys to meeting the challenges facing the food industry in the future”. It centres around four key trends which are consolidating expectations, innovation, and out-of-home catering for the long-term, including:

  • Health, more important than ever at mealtime 
  • CSR is served
  • More enjoyment: quality and nutrition play their part
  • Digital technology at your service