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How much do consumers value climate-friendly food?

While it doesn’t matter to many if food is climate-friendly and some don’t even know what that means, you can’t dismiss those who deem it important.

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Climate Friendly
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More than one third of consumers surveyed said that climate-friendliness has an impact on food purchasing decisions, said Wendy Reinhard Kapsack, president and CEO of the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

Kapsack gave an overview of the most recently completed IFIC Food & Health Survey while speaking on May 8 at the 2024 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit in Kansas City, Missouri.

One of the questions on the survey was: “Does the climate friendliness of a food/beverage product have an impact on your purchasing decisions, and if so, do you care about it more for certain kinds of foods/beverages … or do you consider it the same way for all kinds of foods/beverages?”

Among those to respond, 35% said climate-friendliness did have an impact on food purchasing decisions. About 15% said climate-friendliness mattered more on certain foods, while 20% said they put equal value on it for all food categories.

Of the survey respondents, another 23% said it had little impact on food purchasing decisions, while another 20% said it had no impact. The survey also revealed that climate-friendliness was something they hadn’t ever thought about when buying food, while the remaining 7% didn’t even know what climate-friendliness meant.

Of those who said climate-friendly food was important, 62% said it mattered when purchasing meat and poultry, making up the highest percentage of food categories. Next came fresh fruit and vegetables at 55%, dairy at 50%, seafood at 45% and grains at 39%.

Kapsack said of those who said they wanted their food to be climate-friendly, it was the Millennials to which it mattered the most, with 46% in that age group saying so. Generation Z accounted for another 39% of those to answer that way, followed by Generation X at 38%. It mattered the least for Baby Boomers, making up 22% of those answers.

Other demographic information showed that those who think climate-friendly food is important have children, at least one college degree and have a household income of more than $75,000 per year.

Kapsack said despite the fact that those who valued climate-friendliness to be in the minority, it is not something the agrifood industry should dismiss, especially since some who place value on it can be those with “loud voices.”

As a whole, Kapsack said the agrifood industry is “very focused” on climate, and there is a definite interest to have data to back up the claims of climate-friendliness.

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