Over the last two decades the movement to “go green” has increased exponentially in popularity. Society has been exposed to many advertising and marketing ideas pushing for eco-friendly products and appliances. So now, people are succumbing to these new trends either out of guilt, or because they truly believe their transition will impact the Earth. Either way, transitioning over to sustainable products, appliances, and procedures has been one of the many ways we as people uphold the responsibility to take care of our planet for a better future. But is there a certain group that believes in this movement more than the other? Maybe so, recent reports state that the Millennial and Gen Z generations are more likely to purchase sustainable products, or practice eco-friendly procedures at home such as turning off water, lights and other appliances when not in use.
According to the 2023 US Brand Sustainability Benchmark Report, one in five consumers rank sustainability as one of their top three criteria when searching for household and other products – with one in 10 millennials ranking sustainability importance at the top of their list, above price and quality. The report provides accurate sustainability benchmarks and quotas for the US food and grocery industry based on NielsenIQ data and Glow's proprietary measure Social Responsibility Score (SRS.) Data collected from April to December of 2022, SRS assesses consumer perceptions and choices of ESG brands based on 33,000 respondents’ views on over 150 consumer brands. One in two consumers have changed food and grocery brands due to sociological and environmental considerations – with 7 in 10 of those consumers switching over being millennials. The report concludes that consumers are changing their purchased brands to better align with the value of sustainability, choosing those with twice the rated credentials as standard brands. Interestingly, approximately 70% of millennials were a part of that grand total.
“It is vitally important for companies to contribute to supporting society and the planet. And there is a growing body of evidence that doing so is more than the right thing to do, it is good for business. This report provides further evidence from Glow and NIQ that those who are leading in consumers' minds are already reaping the commercial benefits and are best placed for future success, " stated Founder and CEO of Planet FWD, Julia Collins.
About 85% of these participants believe that businesses should act responsibly in accordance with society and the environment – with the figure rising to nearly 40% of that total consisting of millennial and gen z consumers. Why are the younger generations caring more about sustainability than previous? Maybe it’s the years of advertising commercials, academic influence, adult influence, or the “save the polar bears and whales” campaigns these generations were exposed to throughout their impressionable years. The younger generations have had the privilege of growing up in a time period where the planet is at the top of society’s list of priorities, but it wasn't until about the last five years that many standard companies started to act accordingly. In fact, as of right now, these companies have to work in tandem with the others in order to keep their sales and popularity ratings afloat. In terms of revenue, increasing sustainability efforts will decrease the risk of consumers trading down. The report states that 7 out of 10 departments' data found that at least one in 10 consumers reported that sustainability is the main reason for advancing their products.
"Consumers want to hear about what brands are doing to support people and the planet. And they want that information through credible sources, including close to point of purchase: on-pack and through digital discovery on retailer sites," stated Vice President of Total Wellness at NielsenIQ, Sherry Frey.