Identifying Unique Sustainability Opportunities Across Categories to Foster Trust With Consumers

Identifying Unique Sustainability Opportunities Across Categories to Foster Trust With Consumers

More and more, consumers are factoring a product’s sustainability attributes into their purchasing behavior—and are even redefining what constitutes healthy to include the health of the world at large. As we’ve noted earlier, 73% of global consumers say they’re willing to change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact. This increasingly vocal majority could translate to big opportunities for brands that manage to effectively communicate the sustainability of their products. 

In our April 2019 Omnibus study of more than 21,000 U.S. households, we analyzed consumers’ attitudes toward a cohort of sustainable attributes across 13 product categories. We found that across the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, consumers prioritize “environmentally friendly” and “recycled packaging” as two of the top sustainable attributes for which they are willing to pay. 

However, within a category, these priorities can differ markedly from the overall trend.

In a fresh foods category like eggs, consumers are focused more on the farming aspects of the product they’re purchasing—and eventually eating—than the more macroeconomic or technology-related sustainability aspects. “Farm Raised” and “Organic Farming” are the top two attributes consumers are willing to pay more for when it comes to purchasing eggs, while the overall CPG-leading “Environmentally Friendly” ranked in fifth place. This indicates a priority on sustainability aspects that have a more direct impact on consumers’ personal health than that of the world at large. 

Meanwhile, in a household goods category like laundry, consumers prioritize world well-being over personal health. In line with CPG overall, “Environmentally Friendly” and “Recycled Packaging” are the most important attributes consumers are willing to spend on in laundry. However, consumers also rank “Not Tested on Animals” as a top attribute they’re willing to spend on in this category. This is perhaps a nod to decades of efforts among manufacturers and nonprofits to promote animal safety.

For brands, your product portfolio needs to reflect consumers’ specific priorities within your category in order for you to authentically engage them and build credibility. 

For more information about top sustainability attributes for personal care, baby essentials and more, our results by category are available for sale