Grains of Truth 2: EAT – GlobeScan global consumer research on a sustainable food system (2022 Nov)

For the second year, EAT and GlobeScan have collaborated on developing questions to the public in 31 markets around the world on their concerns about the current food system and access to healthy and sustainable food. Respondents were asked about whether the price of food you buy on a regular basis has gone up in the last three months, if major world events like the pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine have made them more or less secure about having access to food, how important buying environmentally responsible and healthy food is to them, and if they would be willing to pay more than a regular price for healthy and environmentally responsible food given the current economic circumstances.

This report presents the insights gained from this research, with the hope of contributing to the transformation of the global food system. The Take-aways:

  • Consumers are very concerned with a range of issues including climate change and food shortages, and they are increasingly making the connection between these issues. As people increasingly understand that the most serious challenges that we face including food insecurity and climate change are highly interconnected, they will expect more holistic solutions and approaches.
  • Although people mostly say that they are already eating a healthy diet, plant-based diets are embraced by only a small proportion of consumers. However, the trend – while slow – shows that increasing uptake of plant-based eating habits and interest vs frequency of vegetarian eating suggests a large opportunity to facilitate plant-based eating at scale.
  • While there tends to be almost universal agreement that inflation has affected the price of food, there is considerable variation across the countries and territories surveyed about perceived food security in the face of challenges like the pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine. Although the public is increasingly understanding how these issues connect to food security, perspectives and expectations around these issues will differ dramatically by geography.
  • The relatively strong claims of willingness to pay more for healthy and responsible food is an indication of the value consumers place on these goods even against the backdrop of the rising cost of living. However, the gap between the stated importance of buying heathy and responsible food and the capacity people have to pay a premium for such offerings in the current economic context highlights the issue of affordability as acrucial aspect of transforming the food system.

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