The Rewired Consumer - Tetra Pak Index 2021

The pandemic has forced people to rethink their priorities and behaviours as they seek a more resilient and sustainable future. The 2021 Tetra Pak Index conducted in partnership with Ipsos explores shopper attitudes and action today when it comes to food, health and the environment.

The author(s)

  • Lena Gilchrist Client Organisation, Sweden
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This year’s report finds that the personal, economic and environmental fragility experienced during the global pandemic has created a shift from more passive concern to active caretaking, driven by the desire to protect ourselves, our communities and the security of the planet.

Worries about the environment are strong – even more so than in 2020, in fact, surpassing Covid-19 concern in some regions. Pollution and plastic litter in the ocean are the joint top environmental worry (at 83%). Global warming closely follows, cited by over three quarters (78%) of consumers across nine countries. This is ahead of food waste (77%) and food accessibility (71%).

Food safety and security are also top priorities for the public as the pandemic has shone a spotlight on health and highlighted weak points in our food systems. Two-thirds (65%) believe that being healthy is being safe, this heightened awareness creating demand spaces for immunity-boosting food products.

Responsible consumption becomes mainstream

Nearly half (49%) of the global population are recognising that their everyday actions have a direct impact on the environment.

People are being more proactive in making the right purchases – for their own wellbeing and for the environment around them. This includes dietary choices and by recycling more and reducing waste. For example, 62% of consumers pay more attention to the quality of what they eat and drink, while 54% are throwing away less food now than before the pandemic.

With more time being spent at home, the household waste “footprint” is more visible. In a bid to address this, consumers are adapting their routines. Over half (55%) are planning meals more carefully to avoid waste, 59% are avoiding products which have a lot of packaging, and 42% are consciously using less plastic than before the pandemic.

Consumers are also looking to businesses to lead the way and help them stabilise the new habits they form. Over one-third (35%) report more frequently choosing brands based on their sustainability credentials than before the pandemic and a majority (61%) expect food and beverage companies to lead the way in finding solutions.

People are looking to make change beyond their own homes too: one-third (32%) are actively influencing their community to reduce waste, signalling a movement of climate champions.

Lena Gilchrist, Client Director at Ipsos, comments: “This year’s Tetra Pak Index is based on several different sources of data and methodologies to make sure we get a comprehensive view of consumers’ attitudes, behaviours and values. We can identify real change in attitudes and behaviours by conducting research over successive years.”

Adolfo Orive, President and CEO at Tetra Pak, comments: “This year’s Tetra Pak Index shows that consumers’ willingness to make a difference expands to wider sustainability concerns, notably societal issues and becoming better citizens. As a result, we see there is a rising trend towards caretaking: of ourselves, our communities, and our planet.”

The Tetra Pak Index 2021 is based on Ipsos consumer research, including ethnographic research and a Demand Spaces study across countries including Brazil, China, Germany, Egypt, India, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, UK, United States and Vietnam.

Read the Tetra Pak Index 2021 to read more on the findings, including emerging and sticky trends to do with food habits at home, consumer health priorities and environmental stewardship.

Read the Tetra Pak press release

The author(s)

  • Lena Gilchrist Client Organisation, Sweden

Society