GLOBAL – A recent study conducted by Kerry, a global food and beverage company, has shed light on consumers’ increasing willingness to switch to products and brands that offer extended shelf life.

These research findings came as the world observed the United Nations’ International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, underscoring the global importance of reducing food waste.

The study revealed that one-third of consumers are open to switching to products that provide a longer shelf life.

The shift in consumer behaviour was identified as primarily driven by a strong desire to combat food waste, with a staggering 98% of survey participants actively trying to minimize food wastage due to factors like financial concerns, environmental considerations, and awareness of world hunger.

“Consumer concern for food waste has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and has further augmented with the more recent cost of living crises,” Bert de Vegt, Global VP of Food Protection and Preservation at Kerry stated.

Consumers are highly motivated to change their behaviours to reduce food waste, driven firstly by a desire to save money and secondly by a concern for the environment.”

The study also highlighted an increasing awareness and acceptance of preservatives, both natural and conventional, as solutions to combat food waste.

“We are also watching consumers change their product choices and behaviours to reduce food waste, citing that the onus is on themselves as well as the industry to reduce waste,” De Vegt added.

In addition, the study found that consumers in countries such as France and Brazil are among the most active and mindful when it comes to addressing food waste, showing both concern and proactive behaviours.

In contrast, consumers in Mexico and South Africa were highly motivated to reduce food waste out of guilt over people going hungry.

The study also indicated room for improvement in the United States, where consumers express high concern about food waste but exhibit the lowest score for proactive behaviour, highlighting the need for education in this area.

Moreover, 69% of consumers expressed a preference for purchasing products formulated to reduce food waste, offering a significant opportunity for the food industry to innovate and develop products that align with evolving consumer expectations.

In line with the UN’s International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, Kerry’s findings emphasized the urgent need for the food industry to take action to reduce food waste and extend product shelf life where possible.

De Vegt also stressed that as inflationary pressures persist, preventing products from going to waste has become more crucial than ever.