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Research: Study shows consumers' willingness to shift brands for extended shelf life

A recent study conducted by taste and nutrition company Kerry has revealed that one-third of consumers are open to switching to brands or products that offer extended shelf life. This shift in consumer behaviour is underpinned by a growing commitment to combat food waste, with a whopping 98% of survey respondents actively striving to minimise wastage. Kerry says this drive is fuelled by diverse factors, including financial concerns, environmental consciousness and a heightened awareness of global hunger issues. Moreover, the study illustrates that a notable 69% of consumers have expressed a willingness to purchase products specifically formulated to reduce food waste. This presents a substantial opportunity for the food industry to innovate and cater to evolving consumer preferences. The extensive study involved 5,154 consumers across ten countries and showcased that 72% of participants believe that prolonging the shelf life of a product could contribute significantly to waste reduction. Additionally, 74% of consumers consider the presence of preservatives to be a crucial factor when making food purchases. Preserve and protect Within the study, 82% of respondents indicated a preference for natural preservatives, while 50% of consumers expressed openness to purchasing products containing artificial preservatives. However, purchasing patterns suggest a higher acceptance of the latter category. Commenting on the findings, Bert De Vegt, VP of food preservation and protection at Kerry, said: "Our research clearly demonstrates that consumers have a strong desire to reduce food waste in their own homes and they increasingly recognise the role of preservation in achieving this goal. As inflationary pressures remain, preventing products from going to waste has become more crucial than ever. He continued: “With 29 September marking the UN International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, these findings further highlight an urgent need for the food industry to maintain action on food waste and improve the shelf life of products where possible". "By doing so, companies can meet the evolving demands of consumers who are increasingly conscious of the impact of food waste on themselves, society and the planet.” Methodology The research initiative, carried out in early 2023 by Kerry in collaboration with C+R Research, Qualtrics and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), aimed to gain profound insights into consumer opinions and behaviours regarding food waste. The study featured in-depth interviews and journalling sessions with 60 consumers in the US, UK, Mexico, France and Thailand. Additionally, it involved an extensive quantitative exploration with 5,154 consumers across the aforementioned countries, as well as Brazil, South Africa, Germany, Australia and Canada.

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