Disruptive innovations are changing what it means to be green

By Michelle Yeomans contact

- Last updated on GMT

Disruptive innovations are changing what it means to be green

Related tags: Business

The FMCG industry is approaching a turning point: the new year is set to see innovations reach the market that will shatter current approaches to sustainability and the wider “green issue.”

But, how has the industry got to the position where a handful of plucky start-ups are able to challenge industry giants and awaken consumer interest in such a way?

Well, Datamonitor says that while traditional FMCG players may struggle to change ingrained routes to market, the new breed of responsibly sourced and manufactured products are gaining visibility.

"The rapid uptake of alternative ingredient sourcing methods (rooftop crops, second-generation ingredients for example) is a pointer to the future of the industry’s role in protecting biodiversity,"​ says Sara Grady, an analyst at Datamonitor Consumer.

In fact, it found that there is a significant lack of trust in producer efforts, with two thirds of consumers globally saying that CSR efforts are only done to boost the company’s image. Further to this, only around a third of consumers actively seek out on-pack sustainability/ethics logos.

"There is clearly a miscommunication between what FMCG players are doing, and why consumers think they are doing it."

'Education is the missing link in breeding trust in producer efforts'

According to the research firm, these smaller players are more in touch with modern consumer demands; "they understand that price is always going to be the purchase driver in the mainstream, whether a product can 'save the world' or not."

Indeed, Sara explains that having a pro-biodiversity mantra at the core of the business model reassures consumers that CSR efforts are genuine.

On this the analyst says; “such startups are savvy, and see that they absolutely have to meet every consumer demand if they really are to gain traction. At the crux of this attitude is the dichotomy between what the average consumer cares about and what they actually seek out in terms of green credentials."

Grady adds that relevant sustainability interactions are essential in building trust and understanding among consumers.

"Rushed and panicked efforts are reactive, not proactive, and only worsen the opinion of ‘the average joe’ because they seem forced. There must therefore be cohesion between CSR efforts and the brand’s ethos, and most importantly, consumers must know about it.​”

The same research also showed that consumers who say they pay attention to green issues are likely to view industry efforts more positively. This piece of good news reaffirms Grady’s implication that education is the missing link in breeding trust in producer efforts.

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