Dec 13, 2022
5 trends driving consumer behavior in 2023

Fairtrade America has identified five trends it predicts will drive consumer choices in 2023, including continued growth in products marketed as sustainable.

The Washington, D.C.- based nonprofit cited data from the 2021 Sustainable Market Share Index, which found that sustainability-marketed products were responsible for a third of growth in consumer packaged goods from 2015 to 2021. Products marketed as sustainable now hold a 17% market share, up 3.3 percentage points from 2015, with significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, products marketed as sustainable grew 2.7 times faster than products not marketed as sustainable.

Companies are aiming to meet that demand by backing up sustainability claims, Fairtrade America said. The organization’s 2022 annual report found that 2,500 companies used the Fairtrade mark on more than 37,000 products sold in 143 countries in 2021.

Fairtrade America has identified five trends it predicts will drive consumer choices in 2023, including continued growth in products marketed as sustainable. Photo: File

The Fairtrade mark is used when ingredients in a product meet the requirements of the international Fairtrade Standards, which are designed to support the sustainable development of small producer organizations and agricultural workers in developing countries. In 2021, 5,000 products from more than 500 brands made with Fairtrade-certified ingredients and produced in accordance with Fairtrade Standards were sold in the U.S.

Other predicted 2023 consumer trends are:

  • Consumers will change their diets to lessen environmental impact

According to a recent study by GlobeScan on behalf of the Marine Stewardship Council, 31% of U.S. consumers who have changed their diet have done so because of an environmental reason, with 11% saying they changed their diet specifically due to climate change. As people seek to lower their impact on the environment with decisions including the foods they eat, certifications from organizations like Fairtrade America, MSC and Non-GMO Project are making it easier to identify products made with the planet in mind.

Fairtrade sets environmental standards that include banning some pesticides and GMO seeds, protecting natural resources and encouraging eco-friendly cultivation. The nonprofit also incentivizes organic farming through an increased minimum price paid to producer organizations.

The efforts are having an effect, with 77% of Fairtrade shoppers saying the Fairtrade label makes it easy to decide if a product is ethically and responsible produced, the organization said.

  • Consumers, governments and organizations are prioritizing a decrease in deforestation

Since 2000, 10% of the world’s tree cover has been lost, according to the United Nations, while a recent GlobeScan survey found that 86% of consumers try to avoid products that damage biodiversity. Consumers are increasingly aware of deforestation, and more companies are pushing for bans on deforestation and for governments to enact legislation that would combat deforestation.

Fairtrade standards stipulate that farmers may not cut down protected forests, and farmers can use Fairtrade premium funds to plant more trees. In 2022, farmers in the Fairtrade Producer Network in Latin American and the Caribbean planted more than 300,000 trees in a six-month drive that included more than 100 participating Fairtrade Producer Organizations across 20 countries.

  • Supply chain due diligence requirements will become more prevalent

Oxford Economics found that across industries, 88% of companies have either created a clear mission statement around sustainability or they’re in the process of writing one, but less than half of those respondents said they had significant visibility into their own sourcing of sustainable products.

More retailers are seeking brands that can provide transparency along the supply chain, including in the form of third-party certifications. The European Commission adopted a proposal aimed at fostering sustainable and responsible corporate behavior throughout global value chains, and Germany passed the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act in 2021. The act will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has announced proposed rules and rule amendments on corporate due diligence.

  • Consumers and brands will prioritize regenerative agriculture practices

In a Food Insight survey, 30% of consumer respondents selected regenerative agriculture, which focus on improving soil health and biodiversity, as among the most beneficial agricultural and consumption practices for the land their food is grown on.

A key component of regenerative agriculture is diversification of crops and plants grown on farms. Farmers can also use Fairtrade premium funds to diversify their crops.

“Responsible shoppers in the U.S. are demanding that companies and governments drive transformation that benefits the people who grow our food and protects the planet,” said Carlos Urmeneta, Fairtrade America’s director of commercial partnerships. “As expectations of transparency and sustainability in the supply chain become more and more mainstream, we are partnering with farmers, retailers and brands to provide shoppers the assurance they are looking for in their favorite products.”

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