The Global Language of Business

What do Irish Shoppers understand by the term ‘sustainability’

Sep 2, 2022, by  - Category:

Irish shoppers are concerned about sustainability

Consumers are increasingly making buying decisions with environmental sustainability in mind. The annual Irish Grocery Insights research from Shopper Intelligence over the last number of years has revealed that Irish grocery shoppers are becoming much more concerned about the impact of their buying choices on the environment. Any small business looking to future-proof would be wise to make sustainability a foundational element of their business plan. It can be tricky to know where to start when it comes to sustainability but it’s hard to go wrong with the key areas that shoppers are interested in according to the data.

While the general trend over the last numbers of years has been an increased concern among shoppers about the environmental impact of the goods they buy, this concern took somewhat of a dip during the COVID pandemic, with increased concerns about hygiene and ease of navigation around the store becoming more salient in the minds of shoppers. However, concern about the environment has returned and is now at the highest level ever recorded by Shopper Intelligence as Colm explains below.

All the different metrics that we look at related to sustainability dropped back during COVID. Now we're seeing them come back up again and sustainability has become more important to Irish grocery shoppers. And it's not just in relation to packaging and recycling. It's things like ‘Irishness’ and traceability, smaller pack sizes, less food waste. All the sustainability metrics have increased in importance in our study.

Colm Rooney Shopper Intelligence

What do consumers understand by the term ‘sustainability’

When reflecting on the goods shoppers put in their trolley, ‘reducing waste’, ‘food miles’, ‘carbon footprint’, ‘manufacturing processes’, ‘recyclable packaging’ and ‘less packaging’ are all potential elements to consider when it comes to environmental sustainability. When Irish shoppers are asked what sustainability means to them, the clear top answer is ‘recyclable packaging’ with 26% of respondents referring to this aspect. ‘Manufacturing processes’ is the fastest growing element of concern when it comes to environmental sustainability, with an increase from 14 to 20% of shoppers citing this as important to them in 2022 vs 2019. The third most important aspect of environmental sustainability is ‘less packaging’ which 17% of shoppers were concerned about in 2022.

Will shoppers pay more for sustainable products?

Shoppers who perceive sustainability as being important to them are both more ‘price savvy’ and more willing to trade up to premium products when do their grocery shop. Overall this demonstrates an overall greater level of consideration of price among grocery shoppers who are more concerned about the environment. They are both more price conscious as well as more willing to trade up to premium if they find a product they consider worth spending more on or one that meets or exceeds their expectations when it comes to its environmental credentials.

The takeaway

The Irish Grocery Insights research over the last number of years has revealed that Irish grocery shoppers are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of their buying choices on the environment. The top three aspects of concern are ‘recyclable packaging’, ‘less packaging’ and sustainable ‘manufacturing processes’. It seems that while concern about the environment took a dip during COVID, for businesses, the dress rehearsal for sustainability is over and any business looking to future-proof would be wise to ‘bake in’ sustainable business practices to meet consumer demand.

The recordings from the Irish Grocery Shopper Webinar Series 2022 in association with Shopper Intelligence can be accessed here.