A new survey suggests that the vast majority of consumers are aware of the connection between food and the environment — and that nearly one-third factor that connection into their choices at the grocery store.
Consulting firm Kearney polled 1,000 U.S. consumers on their awareness of — and attitudes toward — the link between eating preferences and the climate crisis for its 2022 Earth Day Survey. Analysts said the report found a measurable shift in awareness of the environmental impact of food-buying choices.
Participants self-reported their buying behavior in grocery, foodservice and online ordering. Taste and cost topped the list of issues affecting consumer choice, while access, culture and hunger also drove purchasing choices.
But the authors also said the survey showed momentum among environmentally conscious buyers — more than 80% of consumers indicated at least some awareness of the connection between food choice and the environment.
Kearney analysts added that food manufacturers need to make changes before voluntary emission targets become mandatory, but warned that they must also meet consumers’ taste and cost demands.
“Consumers have become alienated by the binary omnivore/vegetarian thinking and plant-based burger craze,” said Corey Chafin, the study’s principal author and associate partner in Kearney’s consumer practice. “Instead, we should focus on climate-conscious food choices of any type — for example, trading chicken for beef on a per-pound. basis reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 90%.”