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Consumer Behavior Trends and Sustainable Food Choices – European Grocery Retail Trends 2024 – Part 2

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Savorita Editor Team

This article on “Consumer Behavior Trends and Sustainable Food Choices” is part of our larger analysis of European Grocery Retail Trends in 2024. With this series of articles, we will examine the key factors that influence this sector. This includes looking at what consumers are buying, how retail stores are operating, and what the overall trends are in the food industry across Europe.

Summary

  1. Introduction
  2. Consumer Behavior Trends and Sustainable Food Choices (This Article)
  3. Market Dynamics: Food Stores in 2024 (01/05/2024)
  4. Implications for Retailers in the European Grocery Market (08/05/2024)

Explore also our previous articles on grocery retail:

1. The Shift Toward Sustainable Food Choices

In recent years, consumer behavior has undergone significant transformations, driven by a growing awareness of environmental and health concerns. Sustainability is no longer a mere “nice-to-have” but is increasingly becoming a baseline requirement for purchase decisions. Let’s explore the factors contributing to this shift:

1.1 Trust as a Driver

Trust plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer behavior and business outcomes. Brands that prioritize sustainability build trust with their customers, reinforcing their commitment to people and the planet.
Younger Generations: Millennials and Gen Z, who will soon hold most of the purchasing power, place a premium on sustainable practices. They seek brands that align with their values and contribute positively to society and the environment.

1.2 The Environmental Impact of Food Consumption

The food system accounts for up to 34% of total greenhouse gas emissions globally2. Addressing sustainability in food consumption is crucial for mitigating climate change.
Household Impact: Approximately one-third of households’ total environmental impact (including water and energy consumption, pollution, and emissions) results from food and drink consumption2. Changing consumption patterns can significantly reduce this impact.

2. The Positive Role of High Quality, Health, and Sustainable Food Choices

2.1 Multifunctionality and Quality

Consumers now perceive health in a more holistic manner. They seek products that are not only efficacious but also efficient in meeting their needs. The concept of a “magic pill” that addresses multiple considerations is gaining traction2.
Quality and Freshness: Consumers experience positive emotions related to the variety and quality of fresh products. The joy of producing and preparing one’s own food contributes to overall well-being.

2.2 Health-Conscious Food Choices

Consumers are increasingly motivated by ethical considerations. They want products that align with their personal health goals and contribute positively to the environment.
Positive Emotions: Joy and satisfaction arise from choosing products that promote health and well-being. These emotions are closely tied to the environmental impact of industries and consumer behavior patterns.

2.3 Sustainable Food Choices and Price

While price remains a consideration, consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that offer both quality and sustainability. Brands that strike this balance effectively gain consumer trust and loyalty.
Environmental Externalities: Negative emotions (such as guilt or shame) are associated with industries that have adverse environmental externalities. Brands that address these issues positively resonate with consumers.

3. Conclusion

As we approach the tipping point where sustainability becomes a baseline requirement, food producers, suppliers, and retailers must adapt. By prioritizing high quality, health, and sustainability, they can meet consumer demands while contributing to a healthier and more equitable world.

 

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on research and industry insights available as of 2024.

 

  1. Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Research: Consumers’ Sustainability Demands Are Rising.” Harvard Business Review1.
  2. Penz, E., & Hofmann, E. (2021). “Inducing consumers to purchase eco-friendly food: An analysis of motivational and emotional aspects.” Sustainability2.
  3. World Economic Forum. “Consumers want sustainable options. What food producers, suppliers, and retailers can do now.”3.
In the foodie heart of the European Union, a quiet change is taking place, one giving independent food stores an advantage over supermarkets. Consumers are increasingly turning their backs on [...]

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