Posts Tagged ‘sustainable food’

What Does Sustainable Food Mean to the Average Consumer?

December 9, 2011

In our last post, we talked about sustainable food and the impact that it bears on restaurant selection. Although the green movement hasn’t affected the restaurant industry as much as some may have expected, it is still gaining traction. It is important to note what consumers look for when it comes to local and sustainable foods.

Sustainable Food Purchasing Data

What are consumers basing their decisions on when it comes to sustainable food choices? It may not be as altruistic as it seems. In truth, the sustainable food movement is largely fueled by a perceived superior quality of food in local and organic products. The Mintel survey reported that 45% of consumers feel that sustainable food and drink are of higher quality than other choices.

Other respondents (43%) felt that sustainable food was important to them because of environmental or humanitarian reasons. This was closely followed by concern for food safety (42%).

The survey also found that certain buzzwords meant more to the end user than others. Marketing that claims “recyclable” or “environmentally friendly” is commonplace vocabulary. Yet words like “Fair Trade” and “reduced carbon footprint” are lesser known factors to consumers.

How Should the Restaurant Industry Approach the Sustainable Food Movement?

These statistics are important to the restaurant industry because the sustainable food movement is increasing. Over 13,000 new sustainable food products have been added to Mintel’s database since 2005. Over 84% of those surveyed reported purchasing some sort of local or sustainable food.

For the restaurant industry, it is important for us to track what purchases mean the most to these consumers as we make our buying decisions. Whether you are dealing with a younger crowd, a more affluent crowd or an aging crowd, be aware that all of them place value on health and safety over green initiatives at this point.



How Important Is Local Sustainable Food to Diners?

December 7, 2011

The local sustainable food movement has indubitably affected the consciousness of American consumers. But just how willing are they to pay more for local and organic menu items when it comes to dining out? Recent studies argue that it’s not as much as the sustainable food movement would like us to believe.

Survey Findings Concerning Sustainable Foods

According to Mintel’s recent press release on a survey of food sustainability on November 14, 2011, over 57% of consumers will pay more for local and sustainable fare. As the restaurant industry’s profit becomes increasingly affected by the green initiative, many of us may breathe a sigh of relief…but not so fast!

Even though these figures may prove to be hopeful, the majority of consumers don’t want to pay more than one to five percent more for sustainable foods. It also turns out that this is a minor detail when consumers decide on a place to eat. So, what do consumers base their decisions on?

  • 74% say menu selection
  • 69% say pricing
  • 67% say location

Sadly, only seven percent are looking for sustainable food when they make their decision; however, the West Coast scored proportionately higher in the survey (11%) compared to the Midwest (4%) and Northeast (7%) when it came to sustainable foods.

Furthermore, the survey suggests that when it comes to concern regarding consumer’s social responsibility, sustainable food is still trumped by pressing issues like living wages paid to employees and medical insurance.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Local and Sustainable Foods in Restaurants?

Many restaurants will find that offering sustainable food will be an added feature that sets them apart from the crowd. As the sustainable food movement grows, this initiative is expected to gain traction and becoming more of a decision-maker.