Kerry: Food-waste reduction a top priority; consumers willing to switch to brands offering better shelf life

(Image: Kerry)

A recent study conducted by Kerry has revealed that one-third of consumers are willing to switch to brands or products that offer better shelf life.

This openness to change is being driven by consumers’ strong desire to act on food waste – a significant 98% of those surveyed were actively trying to minimise food waste, driven by various factors such as financial concerns, environmental considerations, and mindfulness of world hunger.

Meanwhile, 69% of consumers expressed an inclination to purchase products formulated to reduce food waste. This represents a significant opportunity for the food industry to innovate and create products that meet evolving consumer expectations.

The study, which involved 5,154 consumers across 10 countries, found that 72% of respondents believe that extending the shelf life of a product would help them reduce waste. Additionally, 74% of consumers consider preservatives to be important when making food purchases.

(Image: Kerry)

Role of preservation

A total of 82% of respondents expressed acceptance of natural preservatives, while 50% of consumers are open to purchasing products with artificial preservatives — although buying patterns indicate a higher acceptance of these solutions.

Commenting on the research findings, Bert de Vegt, vice-president of food preservation and protection at Kerry, said: “Our research clearly demonstrates that consumers have a strong desire to reduce food waste in their own homes, and they increasingly recognise the role of preservation in achieving this goal. As inflationary pressures remain, preventing products from going to waste has become more crucial than ever.”

“With 29 Sep marking the UN International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, these findings further highlight an urgent need for the food industry to maintain action on food waste and improve the shelf life of products where possible. By doing so, companies can meet the evolving demands of consumers who are increasingly conscious of the impact of food waste on themselves, society, and the planet.”

As the market leader in preservation, Kerry’s portfolio includes unique sodium-free buffered vinegars, potassium acetates, multifunctional systems to solve complex preservation challenges in meat products, and a range of fermented wheat products for mould control in bread applications. Kerry also sits on the Consumer Goods Forum’s Coalition of Action on Food Waste and uses insights to help customers and consumers demystify on-pack labels and date information.

Methodology

In early 2023, Kerry embarked on a comprehensive research initiative in collaboration with C+R Research, Qualtrics, and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to gain a deeper understanding of consumers’ opinions and behaviours regarding food waste. The study involved week-long, in-depth interviews and journaling sessions with 60 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, France and Thailand, as well as an extensive quantitative exploration with 5,154 consumers across the aforementioned countries, plus Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Australia and Canada.