Study explores fast-growing rise of ‘climavore’ consumers

“By 2030, our routine food choices will be climate-directed. The companies that mobilize now will win the future of food.” With that said, global management consulting firm Kearney has released its 2022 Earth Day Survey, which measures the growing momentum of ‘climavorism’ among consumers – referring to the making of mindful food choices based on environmental impact.

This year’s survey polled 1,000 US consumers on their awareness of, and reaction to, the connection between food preferences and climate change concerns. The results showed many consumers had awareness of the issue and were willing to shift food purchasing behaviors.”

“Climavores believe switching protein sources—from, say, beef to chicken, or pork to soy—goes a long way toward amplifying their personal environmental impact. Eighty-three percent said once a week they would be willing to substitute fish, chicken, pork, or plant-based protein for beef. Consumers most prefer fish and chicken when considering substituting beef to improve environmental impact.”

According to the survey results, four out of five consumers have at least some awareness of the environmental impacts of food. See Figure 4 below. Younger consumers (18-44) are 1.5-2.0 times more likely to consider the environmental impact of their food choices decisions than older consumers.

Environmental impact is valued almost twice as much in grocery stores than in restaurants. Twenty-seven percent of respondents indicated environmental issues were a significant influence on their specific food choices in the grocery store, compared to 21 percent in online purchases, and only 15 percent in restaurants. Figure 1 (see below) highlights how environmental impact of food ranks compared to other significant factors such as cost, taste, and nutrition (in grocery stores, online purchases, and restaurants).

Cost perception and aversion to plant-based diets are the most significant obstacles to making food choices which minimize environmental impact. “The study also uncovered a more negative consumer response to plant-based food alternatives, with 19% of respondents stating they were likely to purchase such products in the next 12 months, down from 31% in 2021. 

Relating to this, a growing number of plant-based insiders argue that too many processed ingredients and questionable sustainability claims are plaguing the industry, and have begun to call for reform.  How plant-based companies respond to consumer surveys such as these remains to be seen. But the effect of the ‘climavores’ cannot be ignored.” 


Sources:

Dawn of the Climavores, Kearney –
Consumer and Retail (April 22, 2022)  https://www.kearney.com/consumer-retail/article/?/a/dawn-of-the-climavores&utm_medium=pr&utm_source=prnewswire&utm_campaign=2022EarthDay

Kearney 2022 Earth Day Study Explores Fast-Growing Rise of “Climavore” Consumers, Vegconomist (April 23, 2022)

Published by greengrass50

My name is Christine McCullum-Gomez, PhD, RDN. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist with expertise in environmental nutrition, food and nutrition policy, food and nutrition security, food justice, chronic disease prevention, regenerative & organic agriculture, and sustainable healthy dietary patterns. Currently, I serve on the Editorial Review Board and as a Column Editor for the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. I live in Bogota, Colombia with my husband, two teenagers (boy-girl twins), and our dog Honey. My website is: www.sustainablerdn.com. You can follow me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/cmccullumgomez/

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