New Lidl Campaign Stresses Affordable Sustainability

German discounter Lidl was already on its way of becoming one of the most sustainable supermarkets in The Netherlands. In Belgium they launched a new campaign that aims to rid consumers of the idea that sustainable is synonymous with expensive. The idea: “It is only sustainable if everyone can afford it.”

In recent years, Lidl has continued to expand its sustainable range. One in five products that the retailer sells in Belgium now bears a sustainable label. To draw attention to this, the discounter is launching a remarkable new campaign.

“We want to continue to offer as many sustainable products as possible. But they don’t have to be more expensive than other products. That is why we now only go for ‘ZAAM’. The meaning of ‘expensive’ (in Dutch ‘duur’) in ‘sustainable’ (in Dutch ‘duurzaam’)  may not refer to ‘price’, but many people still associate sustainability with something pricey. And we want to change that with this campaign. Because it is only sustainable if everyone can afford it,” said Isabelle Colbrandt, spokeswoman at Lidl.

By doing this, Lidl is addressing one of the biggest barriers for sustainable consumption. We know from our 2019 Future of Food study that eating sustainably is highly associated with expensiveness and thus not achievable for the masses. We also know that this perception is largely misperception and that changing to a more sustainable diet can actually save money. Switching to plant-based, local and seasonal diet can turn out to be cheaper for many consumers.

Another reason why sustainable food is associated with expensiveness is that it is highly associated with eating organic products. Switching like for like to an organic alternative is obviously more expensive. But Lidl now shows opportunities to switch consumption to more sustainable products without having to buy the more expensive organic alternative.


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