India consumerism: trend towards eco-friendliness

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: India

India consumerism: trend towards eco-friendliness
Indian consumers are increasingly aware of environmental and sustainability practices in the food industry but are unable to afford eco-friendly goods, according to a Nielsen survey.

The poll suggests that consumers are more knowledgeable about ecological-friendly practices throughout the supply chain, from packaging and ingredients sourcing to production techniques but over 50% are unable to afford ‘green’ products.

Energy efficiency, regarding food production (86%) as well as packaging that is recyclable (79%) rank high among Indian consumers’ concerns.

Over 50% of consumers said they would support manufacturers that use raw materials not harmful to the environment, with less importance placed on fair trade products (44%) and ethical labour (42%).

Products not tested on animals and companies that supported local causes ranked the lowest.

Executive director of Nielsen, India, Dipita Chakraborty said: “India shoppers are increasingly becoming aware of what goes into a product and prefer to buy goods that use raw materials that are not harmful to the environment. Ironically though, they are less concerned about a corporation’s social conscience when making a purchase decision.”

The survey showed that trends in India reflect the global tendency. Worldwide, 86% of consumers indicated that eco-friendliness is important, yet only 22% are willing to pay for products.

Environment does matter, but cost matters more

Chakraborty said that many Indian consumers want to buy ecologically friendly products but are unable to on a daily basis due to high prices.

Given a choice, the Indian shopper would go for these (eco-friendly products), rather than a value for money deal,” ​she said.

Asia trends

India is one of the top three countries within the Asia Pacific that has shown an affinity towards eco-friendly products.

Willingness to purchase products is highest in Vietnam and Indonesia, while New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia prioritise value for money and promotions.

Research from India-based market research company, IMRB International, supports Nielsen’s findings.

Senior vice president of IMRB, Hemant Mehta told FoodNavigator-Asia: “Indian consumers are currently experiencing the first flush of wealth and consumerism. The focus currently seems to be on trying new products and services. While the environment consciousness is growing, it is still in a very nascent stage.”

He added that currently, very few brands of consumer packaged goods supplied to India highlight the product’s ‘green’ advantage and this may be an influence to the low levels of consumers willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products.

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