Conscious consumerism – the drive behind increased interest in animal welfare – is going mainstream

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/Andrii Yalanskyi
Source: Getty/Andrii Yalanskyi

Related tags Animal welfare

Once niche, conscious consumerism is emerging as a mainstream trend in 2019 that is influencing more companies to offer products that are not just environmentally-friendly but also animal-friendly, according to Euromonitor International.

“Conscious consumers are taking center stage and … they are not only focused on the environment, but increasingly we are seeing sensitivity towards animal welfare,”​ Alison Angus, head of lifestyles at Euromonitor International, said recently during the consumer and market research firm’s webinar on what to expect in the coming year.

She explained that the demand for animal-friendly products is going beyond niche vegan consumers to a much broader flexitarian group, which is allowing consumers to choose different levels of commitment to animal welfare ranging from not consuming animal products at all to only using products from animals that have lived humanely.

Animal welfare also increasingly is considered “cool”​ and “healthy,”​ two qualities that will likely further expand the value’s appeal beyond traditional conscious consumers to more mainstream shoppers overtime.

Market impact

Conscious consumers’ focus on animal welfare led to a more than 10% increase in sales of meat substitutes in 2018 compared to 2017, bringing the total up to about $18 billion in retail sales. During the same period sales of dairy milk alternatives climbed about 9% to $17 billion, products making vegan claims saw sales increase slightly more than 5% to about $9 billion, while retail sales for products making grass fed/pasture raised or free range claims climbed about 4% and 5% respectively, according to Euromonitor data.

At the same time, animal-derived ingredients, such as collagen and lanolin, are losing their popularity, Euromonitor reports.

Driving desire for transparency

Conscious consumers also tend to be “relentless in their demand for complete transparency,”​ and as such businesses “absolutely must take steps to address their concerns”​ by shining a light on how their products are sourced, made and marketed and the full impact of each step on the environment and society at large, Angus said.

She recognized that while many industries are making stride in their ability to track and trace where each ingredient or products is sourced, this is a tall order for other industries that have more complex supply chains or have not had the same level of regulatory pressure to push them forward.

Nonetheless, she said, now is the time for slow-starters to pick up their feet because at least for now consumers are willing to pay a premium price for products that fit with their more mindful and conscious values “as long as it is reasonable and fair.”

However, in the future, this higher bar around transparency, sustainability and animal welfare likely will become the new floor, at which point those companies that have not made an effort will no longer be attractive – even as a more affordable option.

With that in mind, Angus noted that products that can check more than one box for consumers, such as animal welfare and sustainability, will start to pull ahead. For example, she pointed to the recent approval by FDA of duckweed as a source for protein as a potential future star. The ingredient not only is plant-based, but it is highly sustainable in that it can be harvested daily, 98% of the water used in its production can be recycled and it appeals to consumers’ desire for clean labels.

Moving beyond food

So far, conscious consumerism has focus on the food, beverage and beauty industries, but Angus predicts it will quickly tip into other categories.

“For instance,”​ she said, “in home furnishings we are seeing consumers say no to leather, fur and feathers, and indeed are choosing much more natural ingredients and products.”

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Consumer Attitudes on Ultra-Processed Foods Revealed

Consumer Attitudes on Ultra-Processed Foods Revealed

Content provided by Ayana Bio | 12-Jan-2024 | White Paper

Ayana Bio conducted the Ultra-Processed Food (UPF) Pulse survey, offering insight into consumers’ willingness to consume UPFs, as well as the variables...

 Four actionable steps to reduce allergen recalls

Four actionable steps to reduce allergen recalls

Content provided by FoodChain ID | 04-Oct-2023 | White Paper

Failing to mitigate allergen risks has serious consequences - not just for consumer safety, poor allergen procedures can also cause financial losses and...

Cracking Plant-Based Dairy Challenges with Potato

Cracking Plant-Based Dairy Challenges with Potato

Avebe | Recorded the 13-Jun-2023 | Webinar

Don’t let the idea of creating tasty plant-based dairy products intimidate you! Replacing animal - for plant-based ingredients can seem like a difficult...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more