Pandemic more than doubled consumer awareness on food waste: Report

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Paris– Consumer consciousness around food waste has more than doubled in the past two years as rising food prices, supply chain challenges, the pandemic, and sustainability concerns are impacting consumer behaviour, according to a report on Monday.

The report by Capgemini Research Institute found that about 72 per cent of consumers are aware of their food wastage as compared to only 33 per cent of consumers before 2020.

The report is based on a survey of 10,000 consumers and executives from 1,000 large organisations in food manufacturing and retail.

According to the new report, consumers are already looking into ways to reduce their food waste. There has been an 80 per cent year-on-year growth in social media searches for methods to increase the life of food items.

Cost savings (56 per cent), concerns around world hunger (52 per cent) and climate change (51 per cent) are the primary reasons contributing to this.

Although consumers admit their own culpability, with 60 per cent feeling guilty about wasting food, they also perceive that retailers and food manufacturers aren’t doing enough to help them curb this issue.

About 91 per cent of consumers said they are willing to buy from brands and retailers that disclose information on their food waste, while 58 per cent will increase their spend with companies taking active steps to manage food waste.

While organisations are taking positive action to tackle food waste in-store, in consumers’ homes, as well as providing tips to ensure leftovers are not wasted, consumers report that they don’t believe these actions go far enough.

For instance, 60 per cent of organisations said that they help consumers understand terms like “best before”, “consume by” and “expiry date”, but only 39 per cent of consumers are satisfied that this information is clear enough.

Consumers want organisations to do more in areas such as product innovation, packaging, clarity of date labels, and consumer education. For instance, consumers would like to see digital labels (QR codes, etc.) that will provide them with more information on the product’s journey and quality.

“The increased awareness amongst consumers and the initiatives being taken by businesses to tackle food waste is a positive step forward”, said Tim Bridges, Global Sector Lead, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution at Capgemini, in a statement.

“With the help of technology, organisations can track and assess food waste at every stage of the food value chain to enable action at the right time, while also engaging with their consumers by inculcating waste avoiding behaviours and making them an active participant in waste reduction,” he added. (IANS)

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