World Food Day: What are US consumers expecting from brands?
October 16th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

World Food Day: What are US consumers expecting from brands?

World Food Day, celebrated on October 16, has a global mission to raise awareness of hunger and help people move towards a sustainable food future.

To mark the occasion, we conducted a survey among US consumers to gauge their involvement in food-related initiatives, such as reducing food waste and supporting food banks, and understand their expectations from brands.

Data reveals that approximately 21% of all US adults very often participate in food-related initiatives, a percentage that holds steady across various age groups. Furthermore, 35% report engaging in these initiatives somewhat often. In contrast, 31% of all respondents admit to infrequent involvement, while 8% never participate in such actions.

Upon analyzing the data by age groups, disparities become evident. The 45-64 age group exhibits the highest level of participation, with 41% claiming they engage in activities like reducing food waste and supporting food banks somewhat often. Conversely, 18-29-year-olds are more inclined to admit infrequent involvement, with 37% stating they don't often contribute, compared to 27% who claim to participate somewhat often.

The data reveals that a brand's commitment to addressing global hunger and promoting healthy diets has varying degrees of influence on consumer purchase decisions. For roughly a third of consumers (32%) a brand’s commitment somewhat influences what they buy, while 16% say it influences them a lot. On the other hand, 26% of respondents say that it influences them “not much”, and 22% pick “not at all”.

When we delve into the differences by age groups, we find that younger consumers are most likely to be influenced "a lot" by a brand's commitment to these issues (16% of 18-29 and 17% of 30-44). Older US adults are notably more likely to state that it doesn't influence their decisions at all (35% of 65+).

What actions do consumers desire brands to undertake? 

For those respondents whose purchase decisions are influenced a lot or somewhat by a brand's commitment, there are specific expectations. Roughly two-thirds believe that brands should collaborate with local food banks and community programs (67%). Around three in five feel they should participate in food rescue efforts to redistribute surplus food (60%), donate a percentage of profits to food-related charities or organizations (59%) and implement sustainable sourcing practices to reduce food waste (58%).

Additionally, supporting education and skill-building programs related to food and agriculture attracts the support of more than two-fifths of the respondents (46%). Collaborating with other brands to amplify their impact and partnering with NGOs to address food insecurity on a global scale follow, with around a third of respondents (33% and 32%) believing these actions will genuinely contribute to food security and positively impact society.

The data highlights an opportunity for brands to align their actions with the values held by consumers.

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Methodology: YouGov polled 1,000 US adults on October 13, 2023. The survey was carried out through YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Results are nationally representative of adults in the United States. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Self-serve.

Image: Getty Images