Green consumers cutting back on meat

Britain is fourth in the world table for eco-conscious shoppers, cutting back on meat and plastic

An arrangement of green fruit and vegetables on a grey background

The Meat Free Monday message is getting through. A new global survey has found concern for the environment is driving people to cut down on the amount of meat they put in their supermarket trolleys.

The survey – “Who Cares, Who Does?” – was conducted by the data analytics firm Kantar, in collaboration with Europanel and GfK, and canvassed more than 65,000 people for their views on green issues. It explored not only what green issues people cared about, but what action they were claiming to take, to see if this was reflected in their shopping behaviour.

A third of those surveyed in 24 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America said they were worried about the state of the environment, with 16 per cent saying they had taken active steps to reduce their impact, including cutting down on the amount of meat they eat and the number of plastic products they buy.

Kantar showed said these “eco active” people were indeed spending less on sausages, bacon and burgers, and suggested sales of fresh meat could fall by about 4 per cent in coming years as more consumers become aware of its adverse effect on the environment.

While western Europeans were the most likely to be working towards reducing their carbon footprint, Chile came out on top when it came to greener shopping habits. In the South American country, 37 per cent of consumers surveyed said they were making changes for the sake of the planet. Austria and Germany were second and third on the list, while the UK was found to be the world’s fourth most environmentally conscious country.

There is a correlation between a country’s wealth and the inclination of its citizens to go greener, according to Kantar – which suggests more needs to be done to help poorer countries move in the same direction.

“As markets get wealthier, the focus on issues of environmentalism … increases,” Kantar said. “In the future, we could expect to see the share of ‘eco active’ shoppers rising in countries that experience growing gross domestic product. Our study shows there is high demand for eco-friendly products that are competitively priced and readily available.”

Read the report.