APAC consumers seek more demonstration of green credentials

As the foodservice channel adjust to the new normal is the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, capturing the attention of consumers and creating stand out appeal is an area that will become more important than ever. This is especially true as consumers become more value conscious as the threat of the global recession intensifies. One way of capturing attention is through placing ethical and environmental policies at the forefront of menu innovation and brand positioning. This is a factor that will appeal to sustainably-minded consumers that want brands that reflect their attitudes and outlook on life. Moreover, it will also appeal to consumers who are also more concerned about the environment – and linked to this product safety – in the wake of COVID-19.


In an increasingly competitive channel, FMCG Gurus research conducted in Q3 2020 found that sustainability initiatives are an effective way of foodservice outlets creating standout appeal in Asia-Pacific. For instance, a total of 44% of consumers in the region indicated that sustainability initiatives are important to them when choosing what foodservice outlet to visit. Linked to this, 35% stated that actively promoting plant-based food and drink on menus is an element that can better capture their attention. Finally, 52% indicated that they are willing to pay a premium in foodservice outlets that promote sustainability initiatives. This later point is particularly crucial at a time when the world is heading towards recession, as consumers still demonstrate a willingness to trade-up.

Sustainability claims have been increasingly important to consumers in recent years, as they have witnessed the impact it has had on the environmental. As a result, they are increasingly recognising that protecting the environment is a collective effort. Whilst this is having an impact on dietary habits, with 26% of consumers in the region stating themselves to be flexitarian, consumers still expect brands to take the lead. For instance, 76% of consumers indicated the importance for foodservice channels to actively promote their ethical and environmental credentials. This means that even if such claims are not influential on choice of channel visited, consumers still expect brands to demonstrate that they are acting in a socially responsible manner. As concerns about the environment continue to intensity, sustainability claims will become increasingly influential within the regions foodservice channel, especially as consumers seek out outlet that they believe match their attitudes and outlook on life.

At a time when trust is also important to consumers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 64% of consumers in Asia-Pacific stated that sustainability claims make an outlet more trustworthy. Meanwhile, 50% stated this in regards to outlets demonstrating animal welfare policies, and 76% in regards to transparency around how food and drink is made. Given that COVID-19 has made consumers more conscious about the environment and also food safety, it is crucial that foodservice outlets demonstrate ethical and environmental credentials across the whole of the supply chain in a transparent and simple-to-understand manner. Moreover, it is important that brands within the channel are not seen to be engaging in greenwashing and over-stating these sustainability credentials.

Will Cowling is marketing manager for FMCG Gurus. The FMCG Gurus Foodservice survey was conducted in Q3 2020 across 26 countries, including seven countries in Asia-Pacific.