October 11, 2021

Recently, it seems there is almost no issue on which a vast majority of Americans can find agreement, with the possible exception of sustainability.

The newest report from the Coca‑Cola Retailing Research Council of North America — “Sustainability and Food Retailing” — finds a remarkable level of consensus on the importance of sustainability and of local supermarkets taking serious action on key environmental and social issues.

Examined by income, age, region, education and even political affiliation, the study found broad consensus among shoppers that sustainability is an important issue for them and their communities. Shoppers are especially interested in the industry taking action to reduce food and plastic waste and helping shoppers do the same. On many of these topics, such as the importance of donating excess food to local food banks, shoppers seemed relatively unaware of existing industry efforts, which suggests the need for much better communication from grocery stores everywhere.

The study underscored the criticality of meeting the high sustainability expectations of Gen Z, today’s youngest adults and teens. Given the importance of this demographic as future shoppers and staffers, it’s clear that sustainability is a topic that will only grow in significance in years to come.

The study, which includes a tool to help companies create their own strategy for sustainability action, can be downloaded for free below: