According to Tetra Pak’s Index 2023, consumers are now factoring in environmental concerns in addition to their personal well-being when making food purchases. These environmentally mindful individuals, often referred to as “Climatarians,” are willing to adjust their dietary choices to safeguard the planet.
The market for health-conscious foods is firmly established, with consumers actively searching for products that promote their physical well-being. However, a substantial majority now adopt a more comprehensive perspective. Seventy percent of them believe that healthful products should also be eco-friendly, while an additional 54% are prepared to adjust their diets to play their part in creating a better world for the environment.
This dual emphasis is evident in the increasing number of consumers who are intentionally reducing their meat consumption, commonly referred to as ‘flexitarians.’ Nearly half of all consumers indicate that they are either decreasing their meat consumption or eliminating meat from their diets entirely. The Tetra Pak Index, derived from a survey conducted by the global market research firm IPSOS across ten countries, reveals that this trend of reducing meat consumption is a worldwide phenomenon. A total of 56% of survey respondents attribute their dietary choices to health concerns, including adopting flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan diets, while more than a third (36%) specifically point to environmental considerations as their primary motivation.
The study further uncovers that convenience is no longer the reigning priority. In a significant departure from long-standing beliefs, 70% of individuals are now willing to forego convenience in favor of healthier products. Additionally, the pursuit of health remains unwavering, even amidst the current economic challenges, as only 17% are prepared to give up food and beverages with health benefits in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.
The climatarian trend is anticipated to expand as the consequences of climate change become more pronounced. Consumers increasingly demand that food manufacturers provide products that are not only health-conscious but also sustainable.
Adolfo Orive, president and chief executive officer at Tetra Pak, comments, “The findings of this year’s Index are reflective of the direction we have taken in the last few years, to decarbonize the food industry and make food systems more resilient and sustainable. In many parts of the world, people rely on products such as milk and juices for their daily nutrition, so it is critical to optimize their value chain with innovations in sourcing, packaging, processing and distribution, which is where we have been playing an active role together with our customers and suppliers.
In addition, considering that the world will need 60% more food by 2050, we are complementing these efforts through technologies that can help explore new sources of nutrition – ranging from new plant-based sources to alternative proteins produced with biomass and precision fermentation. Both these areas are critical to contribute towards food system sustainability.”
Cutting-edge advancements in food technology can significantly aid in producing products that are not just delicious but also resource-efficient. The encouraging news is that consumers are open to embracing innovations that enhance our lifestyles and dietary choices, with 62% acknowledging the potential of technology in fostering a more sustainable future. Nevertheless, there are concerns among some consumers that such innovations might not be as natural as fresh, unprocessed foods. Hence, striking the right balance will be crucial.
“This area is developing quite rapidly, and it is difficult to predict when and to what extent it will succeed; but it is only through continued efforts and leveraging collaboration to explore every potential opportunity, that we will find solutions to the current food system challenges,” says Adolfo.