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Grocery Stores Have More Work to Do on Sustainability Efforts

Consumers think grocery stores have a lot more work to do on sustainability, according to a recent survey from Retail Insight.

More than half of respondents said grocery stores must improve their sustainability claims and avoid greenwashing, reported AgFunder News (Feb. 28).

Here’s a look into how consumers, and businesses, are willing to pay for greener products:


Over two-thirds of respondents have tried to make their consumption habits more sustainable in the last 12 months. Among 25-34-year-olds, this number jumps to 88%.

Notably, 55% said they would be more loyal to a brand they perceived to be “greener,” while nearly half would be “happy paying a premium” for goods that were green.

However, 54% believe that grocers “merely paid lip service” to sustainability initiatives and just 6% believe supermarkets sustainability claims come from genuine desire to save the planet.


The findings show that there is a lot of room for improvement, as well as investment in the space.

On a recent episode of The Food Institute Podcast, experts from BMO shared their experience financing companies with ESG goals.

“We’re increasingly seeing people making buying decisions, people making relationship decisions, on the basis of ESG…Are you aligned on practices, are you aligned on social impact, in a way that reflects how they want to interact with the world?” asked BMO’s Jonathan Hackett on the episode.

Hackett, who serves as head of BMO’s sustainable finance division, noted consumers were increasingly cognizant of the ESG choices companies were making.

He also said the trends were playing out in both public and private markets.

“You know, two years ago is the first time I started getting questions from private equity investors, and it works the exact same way as it does on the consumer side….Their end consumers as private equity are asset owners, and those asset owners have signed up to the principles for responsible investing,” he said.

One sustainability-focused company that recently received funding is Flashfood, an app-based marketplace that connects shoppers with discounted food nearing its best-by date.

The app, which allows users to browse through available deals at participating stores near them, recently raised $12.3 million in a Series A funding round, reported TechCrunch (Feb. 28).


In Retail Insight’s survey, respondents pointed out specific areas for improvement.

  • 70% said food retailers still sold goods with excessive packaging.
  • 56% said more could be done to create greener supply chains.
  • 67% said retailers could do more to improve their sustainability credentials.