Brands that produce grocery food that upholds the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR) will earn greater customer loyalty, according to the Conscious Consumer Study issued by Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications.
With price being equal, most Americans say they would likely switch from a food brand they trusted if they learn that the company was involved in product recalls (77%), practices that harm animal welfare (73%) or irresponsible labor practices (72%).
“Conscious consumers are voting with their wallets, creating challenges for food and beverage marketers across their entire supply chain,” Jeffrey R. Graubard, managing director of Gibbs-rbb Strategic Communications, said in a release. “Consumers increasingly choose brands aligned with their values while penalizing brands that disappoint them. It’s Darwinian–survival of the fittest–and those companies that flourish are able to communicate resonant values consistently and transparently.”
Here are some other key takeaways from the study:
On average, Americans are willing to spend 31% extra per week on safe and sustainably produced grocery food for their household. U.S. households spend an average of $119.30 per week on grocery food, and consumers are willing to pay an additional $37.30 per week, or 31% more, on food that is produced in ways that advance the well-being of the planet, humans and safety of food sources.
Health, safety and waste reduction are significant considerations in decisions to buy food. With price being equal, most U.S. adults consider nutritional content (88%), food safety (87%) or food waste (78%) as important when making food purchases for their households.
Trusted personal contacts, journalists, retailers, and food businesses are important sources of information about the CSR activities of food companies. Most Americans rate word-of-mouth discussions (71%), news media (68%), content supplied by food retailers (66%) and content provided directly by food companies (66%) as important in their efforts to learn how food companies advance the well-being of the planet, humans and safety of food sources.
More women than men consider the well-being of animals and laborers as essential factors in preserving their trust in food brands. With price being equal, female consumers are more apt than their male counterparts to say they would be likely to switch from a food brand they trusted if they learned that the company was involved in practices that harm animal welfare (79% vs. 67%) and irresponsible labor practices (78% vs. 65%).
More women than men say workplace conditions and green packaging are key considerations in their food shopping choices. With price being equal, female consumers are more likely than their male counterparts to consider labor practices (72% vs. 64%) and sustainable packaging (76% vs. 69%) to be important when making food purchases for their households.
The Conscious Consumer Study was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of Gibbs-rbb from Aug. 27-29, 2014 among 2,010 adults ages 18 and older.