Food waste is high on the political agenda. This week, VYPR commissioned a report on consumer attitudes and behaviours surrounding food innovation in waste, importantly seeking to understand how this might impact purchase intent. Over 70% of consumers claimed that they would buy products featuring ingredients that would normally go to waste. 90% of respondents feel that waste is a serious issue, while 93% of UK consumers claimed that they felt individually responsible for taking action to reduce waste. Importantly, 89% indicated that they want to make a difference to tackle the problem, which surely puts pressure on food manufacturers and retailers to proactively empower their customers to take action. However, when we delve deeper and it comes to trying new innovative waste concepts, it is clear that there is still a long way to go to convince consumers to behave differently and embrace change.
VYPR comes into its own when it comes to splitting out stated attitudes versus actual behaviours. In the results, it is clear to see that recent brand initiatives and public campaigns have had some impact and entered the UK consciousness, with 37% of people now willing to buy ugly or "wonky" fruit and vegetables and 30% claiming they would buy products slightly past their "best before date" for a nominal price. However, in VYPR terms at least, these numbers are still extremely low, suggesting that there is a still a large void between stated attitudes and actual behaviours. Moreover, following recipes that use every part of the ingredient (e.g. including vegetable stems) was popular only with 12% of the panel and ready meals made with food items that would normally go to waste were popular only with 12% of the base. For instance, the concept of buying crisps made with potato peel was rejected wholesale by the panel. However, that isn’t to say that further iterations and concept testing – perhaps marketing them as potato skin crisps – deploying VYPR every step of the way to test its way to success – would fail to engage consumers.
Perhaps most concerning, and despite multiple claims to the contrary from market research (e.g. claiming that Millennials and young people care passionately about the environment), younger demographics were most likely to point to retailers, manufacturers and Government to solve the waste crisis rather than take individual responsibility. Moreover, over 43% (versus 15% of the overall panel) of 18-24s rejected the idea of trying any concepts that featured a component of product that would otherwise go to waste, suggesting that future generations need to be far better educated and engaged on the subject.
Image Source: The Guardian Peter Dazeley/Getty Images.
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