How to: making your sustainable innovation a success
The group of consumers who want to make sustainable choices is growing steadily. This presents opportunities for FMCG manufacturers launching sustainable innovations. However, it proves challenging to win over the "green consumer." Why is that?
Research by GfK shows that consumers have attached more value to sustainability and want to contribute to a greener future since the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, in practice, there remains a gap between intentions and behavior. Consumers want to make a difference but either don't know how to make sustainable choices or believe it's difficult to have a sustainable impact.
Understanding the consumer
To better understand where this gap arises, it's interesting to examine what prevents consumers from purchasing sustainable products. GfK defines these 4 major barriers:
- Affordability: Sustainable products are perceived as more expensive, causing consumers to struggle with the purchase due to the perceived lack of value justifying the higher price.
- Findability: Sustainable products are harder to find and less accessible than non-sustainable products, resulting in a lack of consumer awareness and choices.
- Functionality: Consumers expect eco-friendly alternatives to be less enjoyable than non-sustainable products or, in the case of non-food items, to not function properly.
- Distraction: Consumers experience distractions from other matters while shopping, causing the sustainable aspects of your product to go unnoticed.
Winning over the green consumer
What can FMCG brands do to increase the purchase willingness of their more sustainable product innovations? Here are 5 tips:
- Show the benefits. The fact that packaging is 30% more sustainable than before may not be inherently interesting to a consumer. So, clearly communicate the benefits it brings (e.g., reduced emissions). However, be honest and transparent, as conscious consumers can see through greenwashing.
- Emphasize the quality of your product. Prove to consumers that your more sustainable product is just as effective or flavorful as a non-sustainable alternative.
- Make it easier for consumers. Lower the barriers to choosing your sustainable innovation. Through research, you can discover additional aspects in which your product can provide convenience. For example, consider instructions for usage and reuse.
- Make consumers feel good about buying your product. Encourage sustainable shopping behavior by making consumers feel good when they purchase your product. For example, test which incentives resonate best and which communication evokes a positive feeling.
- Harness the power of data. The group of consumers seeking more sustainable choices is growing. By gaining insight into the motivations and characteristics of this interesting target audience, you can make better choices during the innovation process, thereby increasing the success rate of your innovation.
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