Tuesday 17 September 2019

Shoppers cut back on meat and plastic due to climate fears

Plastic pollution: A child walks next to a waste tip in New Delhi, India. Photo: Getty
Plastic pollution: A child walks next to a waste tip in New Delhi, India. Photo: Getty

Emma Thomason

Consumers worried about the environment are cutting their spending on meat and bottled drinks and trying to reduce plastic waste - a trend set to accelerate as climate concerns mount, according to a global survey.

About a third of people surveyed in 24 countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia are alarmed about the environment, with half of those - or 16pc of the global total - taking active steps to reduce their imprint.

"We're already seeing small reductions in spending on meat, bottled drinks and categories such as beauty wipes," data analytics firm Kantar said in a report on the survey.

"As markets get wealthier, the focus on issues of environmentalism and plastics increases. In the future, we could expect to see the share of 'eco-active' shoppers rising in countries that experience growing domestic product."

The poll of more than 65,000 people showed consumers in western Europe were most likely to seek to reduce their environmental impact

A majority of the population in Asia and Latin America had little to no interest in the issue.

Chile is the exception in Latin America and the country with the most environmentally engaged consumers in the world, with 37pc of those surveyed actively taking trying to make a change.

Austria and Germany have the next most concerned shoppers, with Britain not far behind, Kantar said.

It predicted sales of fresh meat in Britain could drop by up to 4pc in the next two years if environmentalism keeps spreading.

"Our study shows there is high demand for eco-friendly products that are competitively priced and readily available," it said.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last month global meat consumption must fall to curb global warming, and plant-based foods could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.

There has been an explosion of companies offering meat alternatives, such as California-based Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, while food giants like Nestlé are launching plant-based burgers.

Kantar said 48pc of shoppers want consumer goods companies to do more to cut plastic waste.

It noted that dozens of companies - including giants like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Walmart and Carrefour - have signed a pledge to make their packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Irish Independent

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