Sustainable consumption is no longer a status symbol. Sustainable alternatives are widely available, affordable and as good or sometimes even better than the less sustainable variants that were traditionally available. However, buying the unsustainable option now involves eco-shame. Consumers are actively looking for products and brands that help them avoid this embarrassment. According to Trendwatching.com, ‘Green pressure’ will even be the most important consumer trend in 2020 .
From exclusive sports car to mainstream family car
Think back to the first Tesla, the Roadster. This electric sports car cost $100,000 and was very exclusive. A status symbol. Now, the Model 3 retails for $ 35,0000 (US) and is a competitor to regular family cars. No longer status symbol. But if you buy a gas-guzzling SUV, you have to explain to your neighbor why you think that is still responsible nowadays.
If sustainable options become mainstream, the status aspect as a buying motive will no longer apply. After all, it is available to everyone. Instead, a different moral standard emerges. There is no longer any reason not to opt for the sustainable option. So you must have a good reason not to choose the sustainable variant. If you do not have one, you will not meet the standard and you will suffer from eco-shame.
This is already in full swing for air travel. It is not without reason that Easyjet was the first airline to start offsetting CO2 emissions. KLM is also working on the development of biokerosene.
Effect in the supermarket is still limited
We still expect limited effects in the supermarket in 2020, based on our Future of Food survey among 1,500 consumers. This has to do with a number of barriers experienced by consumers in sustainable consumption. Apart from hard-to-change consumption patterns, for many product categories the consumer is not sure what the sustainable option is. Also, a good, more sustainable replacement is not yet available for many products.
However, FMCG marketers cannot sit back. As soon as sustainable alternatives are available, many consumers will switch. And then you can better ensure that your alternative is the sustainable option.
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