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The increasingly sustainable spending of Italians

Consumers' attention for compostable or biodegradable packaging is growing, but also for the social responsibility of the products purchased.

The Osservatorio Immagino created by GS1 Italy in collaboration with Nielsen states that the attention of Italian consumers towards the issue of sustainability is getting higher and higher.

It is proved by looking at the shopping cart in the supermarket; when it comes to deciding which products to choose, an Altroconsumo survey on shopping habits that involved 1,625 people between the ages of 25 and 74, showed that 55% of respondents said they were willing to spend more in order to buy sustainable products.

Overall, eco-friendly goods have reached an annual turnover of about 7 billion euros, as evidenced by the fact that about 18% of the products on supermarket shelves have at least one sentence on their packaging that expresses their commitment on sustainability. This increase in attention, and therefore in sales, is subject to the presence of some “claims”, slogans, capable of touching the consumer's sensitivity.

Some companies, in fact, following this new greener trend, have adopted a strategy which provides that in the packaging of their products reference is made to four thematic macro-areas:

  1. Sustainable management of resources: with slogan such as “less waste” “less plastic” “reduced environmental impact” or certifications such as Ecolabel or Sustainable Cleaning.

  2. Sustainable agriculture and farming: including slogans such as “100% natural” “antibiotic free” or with precise information regarding traceability.

  3. Sustainability and social responsibility: issues that are worth around 2.3 billion euros in turnover, mainly due to the consolidation of the Utz (+ 16.2%) and Fairtrade (+ 8.5%) certifications in particular of coffee, cocoa and chocolate.

  4. Respect for animals: the "cruelty free" label.

In particular, it was highlighted that the presence and recognition of products with compostable packaging (+ 55.9%), with less plastic or biodegradable (+ 21%), those with references to the reduction of CO2 emissions (+19, 1%) and those with low environmental impact (+ 13.5%) are considerably taken into consideration by consumers. This measure, which concerns both the production phase and the choice of packaging, in fact, is estimated to be worth about 3.6 billion euros per year.

The trend towards a more sustainable spending, which has been on the rise for some years, has seen a surge following the lockdown from Covid-19. What emerges from the focus on food consumption trends of the Nomisma Observatory "The world after lockdown" is, in fact, an increase in interest in organic and sustainable production methods: "during the lockdown, 20% of Italians preferred foods produced with methods with low environmental impact, 12% bought food products with sustainable packaging […] ”.

It should be remembered that there are many Italian companies that have long recognized greening as an investment space for innovation and a distinctive and competitive factor. In fact, it is undeniable that the consumption habits of Italians have changed, as well as the approach and importance towards issues not only of sustainability, but also of health, safety, the origin of food products (such as the fashion sector).

Those companies that invested first are well aware of this, taking up the challenge of the fight against climate change as an opportunity to build a stronger economy shared with the territories, orienting consumption, but always leaving wellbeing and freedom at the center of citizens' choice.



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