​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Summary & conclusions

Man running, modern lifestyle

​​01 | The environment and health are the two top concerns for consumers today, and they occur in that order. Two-thirds of those polled in our global consumer research study believe that we are heading towards an environmental disaster. The same proportion also believe that mental and physical health are of great concern for society.

02 | Health and environment have historically been treated as separate areas. But now they are increasingly overlapping. Nearly three out of five consumers already think that their health and well-being are strongly affected by environmental problems. The more concerned about the environment they become, the more health-conscious they become too. What was once a distant, abstract concern has become much more concrete, urgent and, crucially, personal, as consumers come to see environmental problems impacting on themselves and their families.

03 | The young are a strong driving force for positive change. They want and expect to be healthier and live longer than their parents, and they are making lifestyle choices accordingly. Their use of social media and their personal experience of the impacts of climate change are also urging them to act more responsibly towards the environment. ​

Modern lifestyle cycle

​04 | Consumers believe they carry the #1 responsibility for both their own health and the health of the planet. There is a growing belief that modern lifestyles, particularly what we eat and drink, result in a cycle that negatively impacts on both (see above). Many want to change their consumption behaviour accordingly – but cost, lack of knowledge, lack of availability and/or credibility of options are all major barriers. There is an interesting opportunity for brands that can help consumers to overcome these barriers and meet their growing need to live healthier, more environmentally sound lives.

05 | Food and drink is a key catalyst in the convergence of health and environment. The #1 change ambition for both health and environmental reasons is greater consumption of more environmentally sound food and drink products. In particular, the sweet spot is natural/organic products. In terms of categories, 100% fruit juice, white milk, packaged water, coconut water and plant-based drinks are the most compelling.  

06 | Packaging, and recyclability specifically, are critical. Recycling is now considered the #1 trait of an environmentally sound person. Recyclability is the joint top association with environmentally sound products and the third most appealing descriptor of a food or drink product overall. Nearly four out of five of consumers globally are now happy to pay more for environmentally sound food and beverage packaging, while just over two out of five say they will pay more for healthier food. 

07 | Anti-plastic sentiment is strong. Nearly two out of three consumers believe that an environmentally sound person avoids plastic, and one in three say they plan to buy and use less plastic within the next 12 months. ​

08 | Our research analysis reveals six global consumer segments with distinct profiles relating to awareness/concern for their health and the environment. Each group has its own distinct beliefs and values; drivers and ambitions for change; and trusted information sources. This creates opportunities for targeted products, messaging and more.

09 | The most successful brands going forward will be those that can demonstrate purpose and show that they are making positive contribution to society beyond just providing good services and products. However, both our quantitative and qualitative global research reveals a trust gap when it comes to health and environment. Moreover, brands currently come way down the list of influencers in this area: only one in ten consumers take advice or inspiration from brands on either of these topics.

10 | Food and beverage is perhaps the first industry to see the emerging trend for convergence of health and environment. It provides a new opportunity for brands to make a powerful, purposeful, personal connection with consumers by addressing and communicating both at the same time.​

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