The appeal of sustainable snacking is evident in search patterns, with searches of ‘plant-based snacks’ for example, rising by 90% over the past 12 months. Consumers levels of awareness to the impact of non recyclable packaging and how ingredients are sourced are at an all time high.
"What is sustainable snacking and what does it mean to me?"
Consumer decisions are now, more often than not, made from an ethical perspective. Products and retailers who meet certain sustainable standards are proving highly popular, especially those who've responded through tackling waste reduction, supporting ethical sourcing, raising moral consumption and through a smarter use of ingredients. You can see all Epicurium's sustainable ranges here.
Helping to empower people to snack right by providing the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way is key for any subscription box, convenience retailer or in fact any one else in between, looking to keep up with what shoppers want in 2020. Read on to discover how you can embrace the drive towards sustainable snacking...
What is Sustainability About?
Sustainability can be defined as a focus on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars - economic, environmental, and social - these are also known informally as profits, planet, and people. Very much in vogue, next month sees the annual World Environment Day - June 5th - which aims to highlight the impact people are making on the planet and how we can all look to better and more sustainable choices.
Sustainability in the food sense of the word, are those food items which are good for our environment, as well as our bodies. Snack brands for example are taking this trend head. Did you know 1 in 3 consumers switched brands to one with more sustainable packaging whilst 56% of UK shoppers state “I feel better in myself when I buy products that I know are sustainable or better for the environment" according to research by Uniliver last year.
Snacking has a bad rap when it comes to sustainability - especially around packaging and the ingredients sourced in production. Whether wrapped in wasteful packaging, or made in an environment that puts its workers at risk, perceptions of snacking when it comes to sustainable credentials, haven't always been the strongest. However, times are changing and outlets are responding to consumer demands. Snacking has become better for you and the planet. Shoppers are taking note and so should you.
Influence on Snacking
The FMCG sector is working hard to reduce wasteful packaging. Brands are also looking at using more sustainable food sources which is something we’ll see more of over in the next 12 months. Consumers love a snack to grab ‘on the go’, but some could be less drawn to non-sustainable options. Snacks in biodegradable or recyclable packaging using ethically sourced ingredients will help to overcome this barrier.
Sustainable snacks are something that’s part of a global shift towards a more eco-friendly way of life. Tapping into national campaigns can help retailers select the very best products to tie in with these high profile campaigns. Here are some of the major campaigns you may have heard about and consumers will have likely be aware of...
- Hugh’s War on Waste
- Blue Planet II
- Sugar Tax
- WRAP UK's Battle Against Plastic
It's not just snack brands who've taken note, an increasing number of retailers have too. Whether it’s in a café, work place environment or a display within a convenience retail store, highlight your sustainable options though bold signage and draw consumers in! Help ethically minded consumers see that you care too and you’re offering them even more choice when it comes to their snacks. We know that 1 in 4 people say that they snack multiple times a day and it’s likely a number of this catchment will opt for a sustainable option given the choice. So what are consumers looking for and how have habits changed?
Five Ways Consumers are Embracing Sustainable Choices
En mass, people are looking at more sustainable ways to live and their daily snacking habit is also evolving too. Sustainable living is a huge growing trend and one which people are responding to in a big way. Whether they’re conscious of their meat and diary consumption or use of single-use plastics or they have an urge to recycle more and waste less, brands are making the most of this opportunity to entice consumers to try new snack options as they make changes to their shopping and eating habits.
Recycle - One of the biggest changes consumers can make is how much they recycle and reduce waste. Snackers are savvy in their choices, by offering healthy snacks with recycled or paper packaging, you’re tapping into this market. Many of our brands are beginning to use recycled packaging which hits all the right notes with certain consumer groups!
The rise in compostable claims - Did you know that snacks are now available in wrappers that can be fully composted? This means the packaging will break down in the same way as food waste which is great news for the environment! Enjoying guilt-free snacks is an extra yummy bonus!
Eating less meat and dairy - Reducing our reliance on meat and dairy in our snacking choices can have a huge impact on the environment. There’s been a huge rise in veganism and it’s no surprise that 1 in 3 Brits have stopped or reduced their meat consumption. As people look to cut our unnecessary meat and dairy from their diet, they need snacks that will hit this mark. Look for vegan friendly snacks to make the most of this growing group of consumers
Demand for alternative proteins - Eco friendly ingredients and sustainable sources of protein are something consumers can make the most of when it comes to snacking healthily. We’re seeing a rise in proteins like pea and even crickets within healthy options – stock a wide range to provide an excellent choice for those looking for their next protein hit.
Responsibly sourced ingredients - Consumers are looking more and more at the brands they choose and their back story. Savvy shoppers are in the know and keen to support brands they like. Brands that used responsibly sourced ingredients, pay their workers well and support conservation all hit the mark. Think sustainable first when it comes to stocking your snack selection.
A Sustainable Case Study
This vibrant brand is working hard to make 100% slave free chocolate the norm. It’s a shocking fact that farmers who produce cocoa to fuel the global market are often underpaid which has resulted in poverty, child labour and sadly slavery.
According to Tony’s, there are 2.5 million cocoa farming families in Ghana and the Ivory Coast who produce more than 60% of the world’s cocoa. The average cocoa farmer in the Ivory Coast earns just 67 euro cents a day – a very low amount that means many are unable to support their families. Sadly, in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, 2.1 million children work under illegal conditions because the harvest doesn’t give their family the income they need – Tony’s are working hard to change that. The brand also claims that thousands of people are subject to slavery and forced to grow cocoa without being paid for it.
Tony’s aim to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate – for all chocolate worldwide. The brand has created a roadmap to outline their long-term goals:
- Create awareness - shout out about the issue
- Lead by example - do things the right way and show others how it should be done
- Tony’s inspires to act - inspiring key players to take action
So far The brand is making a huge impact for communities is Ghana and the Ivory Coast. They’ve sold a tremendous 36.5 million chocolate bars this year alone. They’ve purchased 7,106,000 kilos of cocoa beans purchased which is all purchased directly. This makes them unique in that they know exactly where, how and by whom its cocoa is produced! They’re working with 5,021 farmers which means thousands of families are enjoying a better income through working with the organisation. So, every bite really does help – encourage your customers to choose something a little different to enjoy – it could be life changing.
Now we've given you the insight why sustainability is a red hot topic, what are the best products to tap in to this demand?