Nine out of 10 Brits believe they are ‘ethical consumers’

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Plastic is not fantastic: media coverage of the scale of marine waste has been a driver in ethical consumerism
Plastic is not fantastic: media coverage of the scale of marine waste has been a driver in ethical consumerism
Global software partner for the leisure and hospitality industry, Fourth, has revealed that 90% of Brits believe they are ‘ethical consumers’, while a further 67% state they would boycott brands lacking an ethical conscience.

Statistics from the Waste Reduction Action Programme (WRAP) indicate pubs, restaurants, hotels and quick-service restaurants produce 600,000 tonnes of food waste each year.

Fourth’s survey, conducted across a representative panel of more than 1,500 consumers, revealed that the main catalysts for the change in consumer attitude were watching media coverage of rubbish floating in the ocean (53%); the Government’s 5p carrier bag charge (47%); while 29% cited BBC series Blue Planet​ as the root cause.

Additionally, a recent campaign to ban plastic straws across the restaurant, pub and bar sectors struck a significant chord with consumers and operators as 90% of those surveyed stated that they saw the crackdown as a positive move.

Consumer willingness to boycott

Fourth’s chief operating officer Simon Bocca said: “We are seeing the rise of the ethical consumer, with people becoming increasingly concerned about what they eat and drink, where it comes from, how it was made, and what impact it is having on the environment. This presents big risks for unethical businesses as consumers are clearly willing to boycott brands; but also big rewards for operators with conscientious policies and procedures.

“Cutting down food waste is just one way in which operators can not only make their business ‘greener’ but also help mitigate the well-documented cost inflation across the industry. By doing so, they are safeguarding their reputation; saving money through increased efficiency; driving customer advocacy; and most importantly, doing their bit for the future of the planet.

“Due to these factors, we’ve unsurprisingly seen a surge in demand for our 'Purchase-to-Pay & Inventory' solution. The truth is, our customers who accurately track what they have bought and then thrown away – through over-ordering, over-portioning or insufficient prep planning for example – have got somewhat of a shock at the real cost of waste to the bottom line.

“In today’s climate of food price inflation and of rightly demanding customers, using tech to simplify waste reduction processes and measure the gains accurately is a quick win, both for the bottom line and for driving customer loyalty.”

Findings from Fourth’s survey also revealed that more than a quarter of all evening meals eaten at home in the UK are now vegan or vegetarian.

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