Posted in GreenBiz
December 22, 2021

How COVID has affected our priorities

GreenBiz

This article is sponsored by Tetra Pak.

The COVID-19 pandemic reprioritized all aspects of our lives. We’re spending more time at home –– and when we venture out of the home, we are seeking experiences that feel safe. We’re more concerned than ever about our impact on the environment — and changing our habits because of it. We’re focusing on our health — and taking more control over what that looks like.

The UN has called the 2020s the “Decade of Action,” and we’re just beginning to see what that means as it relates to consumer trends and attitudes toward sustainability. Purpose-driven companies are recognizing this, taking action and letting consumers know they’re aware of these changes with new products, ideas and ways of communicating. 

In a recent consumer attitudes survey from Tetra Pak and Ipsos, we can see how the global pandemic has rewired consumers’ priorities and behaviors. Here’s a look at the top trends.

Trend: A broader scope on sustainability

While the overall sustainability concerns of consumers haven’t changed drastically in the past year, we’re seeing an evolution in attitudes about these concerns. There is an ever-growing demand for action, and consumers are showing they are more willing to adapt their behavior on a daily basis. There is also the expectation that governments, businesses and other institutions need to do their part too. In fact, half of global consumers believe that all of their choices affect the environment. And 35 percent of consumers also report that they are choosing brands based on their sustainability credentials more than they did before the pandemic. 

Half of global consumers said being environmentally friendly is a top need for food and beverage packaging, and 61 percent expect food and beverage companies to lead the way in finding solutions. BioSteel, a maker of sports hydration beverages, is answering this call by providing consumers with detailed information about the sustainability benefits of its packaging. The company proudly highlights its sustainability story, including the recyclability of its package and its plant-based plastic cap. BioSteel also promotes how its packaging can save water, energy and other resources when compared to other package options.

Trend: Changing habits at home

Homes have undergone a significant transformation — in addition to being our personal sanctuaries, they’re serving as our workplaces, entertainment hubs and shopping malls. As a result, we’re rethinking where we live and investing more into our current homes. In the U.S., nearly half of all adults ages 18-34 have moved or considered moving due to the pandemic. 

All this time spent at home has affected our appreciation for sharing meaningful connections and experiences with friends and family. And while we’re spending more time at home, consumers are also seeking out-of-home experiences that feel safe. Sharing food and drink has always played a role in connection, and we are craving these interactions even more after this time of isolation. Since the start of the pandemic in early 2020, these “together out of home” moments have seen a 56 percent increase

Trend: Shifting attitudes toward health

You probably don’t need a survey to tell you that COVID-19 has topped the list of consumer health concerns for the past two years. What is surprising is how consumers are taking charge of their health and working to be more proactive instead of reactive. 

Thirty-eight percent of respondents say they are exercising more since the start of the pandemic. Proving there is opportunity for products to support these self-improvers. 

Beverages such as protein drinks are especially well-poised to take advantage of this trend. Plant-based protein brand Evolve makes it easy for consumers to increase their intake of protein and fiber in a certified vegan beverage that has no artificial flavors and is non-GMO verified. 

These are just a few trends that highlight how COVID-19 upended many aspects of our daily lives, causing consumers to rethink their priorities and leading them to support brands that align with their new values. Opportunities abound for purpose-driven companies to respond to these consumer trends, and it’s up to us to meet demand.

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