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Cone: Americans Willing to Pay More for Sustainable Produce

ConeAmericans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars in order to eat in a more environmentally and health conscious manner, according to the 2014 Cone Communications Food Issues Trend Tracker.

Some 89 percent of respondents consider where a product is produced when making food purchasing decisions, and 66 percent would pay more for food that is produced close to home. according to the survey. Although locally sourced food provides environmental, economic and health benefits, most consumers state supporting local businesses (64 percent) is the primary reason for buying local. Other motives include:

  • 39 percent believe the taste and quality of the product is better
  • 31 percent have more trust in the standards for locally produced foods than other regions or countries
  • 28 percent believe the products are healthier
  • 26 percent think it’s better for the environment when food doesn’t travel as far

Americans’ convictions are so strong in their commitment to purchase locally produced foods that nearly half (46 percent) would sacrifice variety to do so, according to the survey.

Although family satisfaction is the top factor affecting food choice in a supermarket with 97 percent of respondents citing it, shoppers consider health and nutrition (93 percent) and sustainability (77 percent) important factors when deciding what to buy, according to the survey.

A number of specific health and sustainability issues rose to the top as most important when hitting the grocery aisles, including food safety (93 percent) and nutritional value (92 percent). But at least two-thirds of Americans prioritize a variety of other issues as significant factors in deciding what makes it into the shopping cart, including:

  • locally produced – 74 percent
  • sustainable packaging – 69 percent
  • animal welfare – 69 percent
  • non-GMO – 67 percent
  • protects and renews natural resources – 65 percent

In January, Cone Communications launched a corporate social responsibility product, Materiality360, which the firm says will serve as a one-stop solution for companies looking to identify and analyze their top material issues.

The product was designed to meet the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 guidelines, which focus on materiality.

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