09 May 2019

As ethical food and drink sales hit £8.2bn in 2018, it’s clear that more British consumers are keen to make ethical food choices

New research from Mintel reveals that British consumers are making choices based on their conscience than ever before, with the ethical foods market worth £8.2bn in 2018. This trend is set to continue with sales in 2019 expected to grow by 4% to £8.6bn.

83% of UK adults have said they’ve bought a food or drink item with some form of ethical certification, with 87% of over-55’s saying they were most likely to buy ethically-certified food or drink.

However, a barrier for some consumers is price with seven in ten of those researched saying that it was difficult to afford to buy ethically-certified food and drink when money was tight. A large group also said the number of ethical schemes was confusing, with six in ten adults finding it difficult to judge the difference between the different ethical food certification schemes.

Alice Baker, Mintel Research Analyst said:

“Ethical food and drink has enjoyed strong sales growth in recent years, but price poses a significant barrier to greater uptake. This makes it imperative for companies to demonstrate to consumers how they can shop ethically without breaking the bank and how ethical products can – in some cases – even be the financially-savvy option. Drawing attention more strongly to where standard own-label products have ethical certifications would allow retailers to demonstrate to shoppers that they can buy ethically and potentially save money too. Products using surplus produce, for example the ‘wonky veg’ boxes offered by various supermarkets, can also be presented as both a financially-savvy option and an ethical one to tackle food waste.”

Another interesting takeaway from the research is the consumer affinity towards brands that they believe share the same ethics as they do. Almost half (48%) of UK adults researched said they are loyal to brands that they believe share their ethics and values, with that figure rising to 56% when just the under-25’s are counted. A third of adults also said they stopped buying products from brands that have acted unethically, showing how important it is to many that brands are acting ethically.

To see the full research visit Mintel