Consumer Packaged Goods & RetailJanuary 19, 2022

5 ways CPG companies can appeal to conscious consumers

How can CPG companies drive the sustainability agenda and meet conscious consumers current and future needs?
Avatar Rebecca Lambert
Consumers aren’t just saying they care about sustainability; they really mean it. Not only are they now willing to pay more for sustainable products, but over half have walked away from organizations they believe act inappropriately on environmental or social issues. And of all the sectors, food is the priority category where sustainably matters most to conscious consumers. Last year, 30% of respondents in a European survey said they plan to focus more on healthy eating and nutrition compared to the year before. Why? People increasingly see their own well-being as inextricably linked to the planet’s well-being, Joseph Gottschalk, vice president of nutrition insights for PepsiCo, explained in the Compass magazine article “Conscious Consumption.” “They are starting to think of the planet and themselves as one ecosystem,” Gottschalk told Compass last year. For consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, this is both a challenge and an opportunity as they compete to launch a whole host of new healthy and sustainable products onto the market. But as consumer preferences and tastes continue to evolve, CPG companies want to ensure the changes they make aren’t just tapping into the next new fad; they must be done with purpose. With this in mind, here are five key steps CPG companies can take to drive the sustainability agenda and meet conscious consumers’ current and future needs:

What is CPG sustainability?

Sustainability has become a critical concern for the CPG industry, which is now actively implementing measures to reduce waste and promote sustainable development. CPG manufacturers have traditionally focused on improving production efficiency and delivering high-quality products. However, in recent times, the industry has recognized the importance of sustainability in its operations. By reducing waste and implementing sustainable practices, the CPG industry aims to meet the demands of environmentally-conscious consumers while also contributing to sustainable development. Thus, the industry is taking significant strides towards creating a more sustainable future.

5 ways CPG companies can appeal to conscious consumers

1. Develop healthier products

In the article “Conscious Consumption,” we shared how PepsiCo, a leading maker of beverages and snacks, is quickly evolving its business with new health-focused brands and product lines. What you may not know is that it’s the company behind the Naked fruit and vegetable drinks, a line of Tropicana juices that deliver one billion living “good” bacteria per serving, and the bottled water LIFEWTR, which has been “pH Balanced with Electrolytes for Taste.” “We see this trend being driven by all generations, but I think particularly the younger generations, who are demanding new and different benefits from the ingredients in their foods,” Gottschalk told Compass. As CPG companies respond to consumer demand for healthier options, they must consider how their products are made and what goes into them. It’s driving them to innovate and explore how cutting-edge technologies, including virtual twins on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, can help them accelerate product development and create green, healthy products from the ground up.

2. Embrace sustainable products and practices

The ‘Conscious Consumption’ article also highlighted how businesses like Caldrea Company in the US are appealing to consumers who are concerned about the effects of conventional cleaning and body care products and are looking for safer, more eco-friendly alternatives. In its product Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day laundry detergent, at least 97% of its ingredients, including water content, are naturally derived. CPG companies big and small around the world are making positives changes to improve human health, protect our planet and integrate sustainability goals into product and service development. For example, Spanish wine producer Familia Torres is focused on recovering ancestral grape varieties as a way of adapting to climate change. And it’s using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to bring these new products to market and improve its innovation product development process.

3. Provide detailed product information

Consumers increasingly want to know more about what goes into the products they’re buying and how they are made. “A key to the rise of the conscious consumer,” the Compass article explains, “is how product information flows in today’s highly connected world. Consumers still want to read package labels to check for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in their food or harmful chemicals in their cosmetics. But package information is no longer sufficient.” That’s why CPG companies are stepping up and providing additional information online, such as carbon footprint and supply chain information that consumers can access by scanning a Quick Response (QR) code on the packaging label, for example. To support this, they are using lifecycle assessment (LCA) reporting technology that quantifies the potential environmental impacts associated with a product throughout its lifecycle, covering everything from raw materials and packing to end of life. Being able to track and quantify all this data helps them to ensure traceability throughout the product lifecycle and pass that information on to their customers.

4.  Address the waste issue with Circular Economy

The issue of food spoilage and waste, including packaging, is of growing concern to consumers worldwide. However, adopting circular economy principles can offer a potential solution to these problems. Circular economy is an economic model that seeks to promote sustainable development by eliminating waste and maximizing the use of resources. By incorporating circular economy principles into their operations, CPG brands can meet the growing demand for sustainable products and packaging while contributing to a more sustainable future.  In the Compass article, we shared that 53% of Chinese adults aged 20-49 who cook at home would like to see more sauces and seasonings sold in smaller packs to avoid waste. CPG companies increasingly understand that by introducing sustainable packaging, they reduce the product’s overall carbon footprint and appeal to sustainability-minded consumers. It’s why demand is growing for sustainable packaging solutions from the likes of Metsä Board, which uses the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to optimize packaging designs virtually, bring visibility to the product development process and boost innovation.

5. Partner with innovative startups

In the same way that fashion brands are teaming up with innovative biomaterials companies to create new natural materials such as vegetable-based leathers, CPG companies are also partnering with, or acquiring, sustainably minded startups to kick-start and drive their own sustainability agenda. Dutch-British consumer goods company Unilever, for example, acquired US-based Seventh Generation, whose guiding philosophy is to sell only products – ranging from paper products to detergents – that are plant- and mineral-based without dyes and artificial brighteners. Its goal is to preserve the environment for the next seven generations. Want to find out more? Check out the Compass article and head to the Dassault Systèmes industry page to see what role we’re playing in helping CPG companies keep up with shifting consumer preferences and build truly sustainable businesses.

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