Research shows younger consumers prioritise sustainability

They also find meat-free products more appealing than older consumers, the data shows

Younger consumers from 18-25 are more concerned about the sustainability credentials of food and beverage products than those 65 and older, and find vegetarian and vegan products more appealing, research from Ingredient Communications shows.

The company surveyed 1,000 adults in the US and UK. 34% of the younger cohort said they consider it “very important” a product is made sustainably, compared with 18% of the older participants.

38% of the younger group said they find vegetarian claims on products to be “very appealing” and 33% said they feel the same way about vegan claim, whereas 6% of respondents aged 65+ said they find vegetarian claims “very appealing” and 3% said the same of vegan claims.

Younger consumers are also more price sensitive. 29% respondents aged 18-24 said it’s “very important” a product is the cheapest available, while only 3% of people aged 65+ agreed. However, consumers aged 18-24 are much more willing to pay extra for a product that is made entirely with ingredients they recognise, with 67% saying they’d do so, where 27% of those aged 65+ would.

The research, conducted by SurveyGoo in September 2020, also found that the youngest shoppers have the strongest feelings against GMO ingredients. Two in five said that a GMO-free product is likely to be “very healthy”, compared with 14% of the older group.

In addition, 38% of younger participants believe that label claim “gluten-free” is a sign a product is “very healthy”, only 6% of the older group hold this view.

Richard Clarke, MD of Ingredient Communications, said: “It’s no surprise that younger and older consumers see the world differently. But this survey sheds light on how their views diverge in the food & beverage sector. These insights highlight the importance of aligning product development and marketing with the worldview of your target consumer demographic. While there will be common ground between generations, the areas of disagreement can be quite striking – and this means a one-size-fits-all approach is risky.”

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