Sustainable purchases growing again in Spain

Tue 12/12/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

Spain’s “Eco-Active” segment, made up of environmentally conscious consumers, has recovered from its decline in 2022. In fact, in 2023, the number of buyers concerned about sustainability increased to represent 22% of shoppers, compared to 18% in 2022 and 22% in 2021. These consumers spend almost €500 billion each year in the FMCG market, and that figure is expected to reach €1 billion in 2027.

This is the finding of the fifth edition of the annual report “Who Cares? Who Does?” published by Kantar Worldpanel, the world’s largest sustainability study, which surveys more than 112,000 shoppers and connects consumer attitudes and actions around sustainability with detailed data on purchasing behaviour across all categories of the FMCG sector, revealing how brands must evolve to take advantage of that annual spending on sustainable purchases.

However, 43% of respondents say that financial constraints make it difficult for them to act sustainably. This suggests that brands that invest in making sustainable options affordable will be able to reverse the trend towards private label products, an important strategy for dealing with the cost of living crisis. Currently, sustainably marketed products cost 70% more than the category average price. Brands can employ several tactics to ensure these consumers return: use of non-plastic packaging, natural and locally sourced ingredients, more refill and recycling options, and fair trade practices.

Regarding consumer behaviour, the study reveals that three quarters of people (74%) now take their own bags when shopping (+3% from 2019), with almost half using cloth bags (+12%). Almost two-thirds of consumers now use refillable bottles, while almost half (42%) use reusable cups (+6%).

“Spanish homes have adapted to become increasingly ‘eco-friendly’, even though the economic context is not always the most favourable: they change certain habits to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the planet, for example, by taking their own bags or baskets, and demand that governments take responsibility for addressing environmental problems through legislation. In this context, chains and brands play a relevant role and if they manage to align their actions with the needs of the most involved consumers, they will be able to not only attract them but also contribute to a more sustainable future,” said Jordi Freixas, Solution Director LinkQ at Worldpanel.

The study also reveals that the crisis caused by the increase in the cost of living is inadvertently generating more sustainable behaviour, with food waste now a major concern for 24% of people worldwide. To minimise food waste, consumers opt for proper food storage (80%), preparing meals with leftovers (70%), meal planning (64%), creating shopping lists (62%) and the search for alternative uses for foods that are susceptible to spoilage (55%).


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