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Lower prices are key for consumers to shop sustainably

Survey of 3000 UK consumers suggests:

  • Lower prices more important to promote sustainability than more choice or green labelling
  • 76% of consumers suggested lower prices would help them shop more sustainably
  • 50% of consumers wouldn’t spend more on sustainable products

The majority of consumers care about sustainability but are often unable or unwilling to pay more for ‘greener’ alternatives according to the latest research from Asda.
The supermarket polled 3,000 consumers ahead of the COP 26 conference in Glasgow to understand what lifestyle changes they were prepared to make to reduce their carbon footprint and ultimately help the UK reach its net-zero carbon target by 2050.

Although more than half (55%) said they would be prepared to make significant lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon footprint, price remains the single biggest obstacle preventing them from adding sustainable alternatives to their food shopping basket.

When asked what would help them shop more sustainably 76% of consumers suggested lower prices, 56% said greater choice, while 45% said logos telling them what is sustainable would be useful. To underline the importance of making sustainable options affordable, 50% of consumers said they would not be prepared to pay a premium for greener everyday items such as milk and bread.

The findings suggest that greater collaboration is needed between suppliers, manufacturers and retailers to remove the price barrier preventing shoppers from purchasing sustainable products. Asda’s ‘Greener at Asda Price Promise’ aims to address concerns around cost. Introduced last October, it means loose, compact, concentrated or unwrapped alternatives are the same price or less, than packed alternatives.

The supermarket continues to work on expanding its range of greener choices and recently opened new refill stores in York and Glasgow stocking an extensive range of more than 70 branded and own-label products in loose format for customers to buy using their own containers.

More greener products will be launched next year and given prominent positions in store and on Asda’s website to encourage customer participation.

Susan Thomas, Senior Director of Commercial Sustainability at Asda, said: ““Our research shows that consumers from all backgrounds care about sustainability but many cannot afford to buy greener products when they shop. We believe that nobody should be price out of making sustainable choices and our Greener at Asda Price promise aims to remove price as a barrier to purchase. The onus is on supermarkets, retailers and the industry as a whole to work collaboratively to make greener products more affordable. Consumers can also play their part too by embracing greener choices as investment will increase in line with shopper demand.”  

Asda’s commitment to providing customers with affordable eco-friendly products was demonstrated by a recent independent price-comparison survey conducted by trade magazine The Grocer*. The survey compared the cost of 33 ‘green’ products, chosen because they were either organic, plant-based of easy to recycle. Asda’s basket was £5.79 cheaper than the next lowest-priced supermarket Morrisons.

The additional lifestyle changes customers said they would make to reduce their carbon footprint include recycling (89%) turning off lights or devices when not using them (84%) and driving less (52%).

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