According to a new study by the Capgemini Research Institute, “Consumer awareness of food waste has more than doubled in the last two years.”
According to the Reflect, Rethink, Reconsider report, rising food prices, supply chain challenges, the pandemic and sustainability concerns have changed consumer behavior. The institute surveyed 10,000 consumers and executives from 1,000 major food manufacturing and retail organizations.
Today, 72 percent of consumers are aware of their food waste, compared to 33 percent of consumers in 2020, says Capgemini. The report also noted an “annual growth” of 80 percent in social media searches for methods to extend the life of food.
The institute states that this increased concern for food waste is a direct result of cost savings (56 percent), concerns about world hunger (52 percent), and climate change (51 percent).
Research also shows that 60 percent of consumers feel “guilty” about food waste, but “nearly 61 percent of consumers want brands and retailers to do more to help them fight food waste.” 57 percent are also disappointed because they feel companies are not paying enough attention to the issue.
According to reports, consumers are dissatisfied with the measures currently being taken by organizations to tackle food waste, such as B. Advice on storing leftovers. Although 60 percent of companies state that they clarify terms such as “best before”, “use by” and “expiry date”, 61 percent of consumers believe this is sufficient.
According to Capgemini, consumers are demanding that companies do more – such as providing customers with “digital labels (QR codes, etc.)” that offer more transparency on the journey and quality of the product.
Consumers feel left on their own to reduce food waste, the report highlights. When trying to extend food life at home, 67 percent turn to external sources of information (friends, family, influencers and social media), while only 33 percent get information from packaging, commercials or campaigns from food manufacturers and retailers.
Consumer Education and Assistance
Due to increased consumer awareness of food waste, the Institute’s report calls on food retailers and manufacturers to “take action” and gain consumer confidence.
Capgemini found that 91 percent of consumers are willing to shop from brands and retailers that disclose information about their food waste, while 58 percent will increase spending if companies take active steps to tackle food waste.
A “fragmented food chain”
The report also highlights how the production and distribution stages contribute to food waste, with the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) reporting that “over 15 percent of food is lost before it leaves the farm”.
Although 77 percent of organizations say they are committed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals – to reduce food loss along production and supply chains – only 15 percent say they have achieved this goal or are on track to committing to their goals reach.
According to Capgemini, 44 percent of grocery retailers and 50 percent of manufacturers are focused on reducing food waste in upstream logistics. In comparison, only 22 percent of retailers and 23 percent of manufacturers pay the same attention to agricultural production. In terms of downstream storage – only 18 percent of retailers and 21 percent of manufacturers maintain this focus.
technology as a solution
To “accelerate the fight against food waste,” the report recommends a three-pronged approach, backed by technology:
- Engage consumers and employees in food waste management initiatives
- Collaborate across the entire value chain
- Set, monitor and report metrics related to food waste
Tim Bridges, Global Sector Lead, Consumer Products, Retail and Distribution at Capgemini said: “Increased consumer awareness and corporate initiatives to tackle food waste are a positive step forward.
“Technology enables businesses to track and assess food waste at every stage of the food value chain to enable timely action, while engaging with their consumers by encouraging waste-preventing behaviors and making them an active participant in waste reduction.
“An agile, intelligent supply chain can also enable effective collaboration across the value chain to create a sustainable and future-ready ecosystem.”