According to new research, 92% of consumers now expect operators to be acting sustainably where possible, with reduced packaging (93%), food waste strategies (93%) and paper/metal straws (87%) topping the list of priorities.
For those operators who are acting sustainably, a notable 94% of consumers revealed they would think better of the business, with this number rising to 98% among 18 to 25-year-olds.
Of those who admitted their perception would change, 53% listed their personal regard for the environment as the reason, while a third admitted it was nice to see brands trying to make a difference and 15% credited the impact it would have on consumers as a result.
The survey, conducted by HGEM, also found that 82% of people are more likely to choose a venue that proactively sources local produce, while 45% now expect to see charity support/donations within a restaurant. When it comes to operators best communicating these efforts, consumers listed on-premise (93%), social media (67%) and via the company website (61%) as their top three preferences.
“Consumers are becoming ever more aware of how their actions are impacting the environment and, as a result, their perception and behaviour towards brands is beginning to change,” says Sally Whelan, founding director at HGEM. “Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice to have’ for consumers – it’s an expectation. Those brands actively communicating their efforts have the potential to attract new customers and build loyalty with existing ones.”