Consumers driving sustainability 


Sustainability has become a household term. 

Consumers in markets big and small are increasingly environmentally-conscious and are exercising their power and voice through the products they buy.

This collective awareness and understanding of sustainability are creating a rapidly-evolving demand for sustainable products and massive changes to the way brands produce, package and distribute products.

report from Fonterra’s NZMP delved into this trend and found this presents a set of opportunities for the food and beverage industry.

Around 63% of consumers are concerned about the state of the environment, and 53% consumers say food and drink brands should be doing more to protect the planet. Around 87% of New Zealanders are concerned about sustainability, according to the Sustainable Business Council.

More and more consumers are saying food and drink brands should be doing more to protect the planet. According to a report by CGS, more than one-third consumers are happy to pay 25% extra for more sustainable products.

Consumers want companies to make changes to better the world. As their conscientiousness grows, they’re also making a few changes themselves.

The FMCG Gurus 2019 Sustainability Survey found 45% of consumers have changed their diet in the last two years in order to lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Sustainable dairy offerings are growing – from just over 3,000 in 2014 to around 5,500 in 2019.  

This is extending beyond recyclable packaging, according to NZMP’s report. 

Dairy products with animal welfare claims have the highest growth. The number of new dairy products with animal welfare claims has increased nearly 250% since 2014. That’s why we’re working with our farmers to meet globally recognised standards for animal welfare and eliminate practices that contravene our Five Freedoms.

Having sustainability practices is no longer optional for brands. 

Consumers are demanding it and making changes themselves – 13% of New Zealanders choose brands that operate in a sustainable manner – they’re expecting companies to do the same.

It’s also big business.

2019 Neilsen report found that sales of products with sustainable attributes now make up 22% of total store sales and the sustainable product market could hit $150 billion in US by 2021.

To stay relevant, the dairy industry is changing. Packaging and recycling are increasingly becoming a given. Sustainability throughout the supply chain will become the new norm. 

Sustainable ingredient sourcing, animal welfare, food safety and quality, reduction of food waste, supporting sustainable farming, supporting the community – the options for creating a sustainability story for companies and brands are broader and more varied than ever.

To maintain consumer trust, companies should ensure the credibility of their sustainability claims and those of their suppliers. To increase relevance, linking sustainable practices to other consumer convenience are key.

Download the NZMP’s Fast Facts on sustainability below.

NZMP's Fast Facts on Sustainability