Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25

Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25

The world’s leading consumer sustainability study, covering 10,000 respondents from 10 leading economies, will provide you with insights and inspiration on how best to position and prioritise your products for a more sustainably-conscious consumer – market-by-market.

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Get strategic insight into your global sustainability messaging

Presenting the world’s leading – and largest – consumer sustainability study, now entering its fourth year, our much-anticipated Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25 serves as a gateway for brands to be more informed and resilient to possibly the most critical subject matter affecting their future. We’re tracking data on consumers’ ever-shifting sustainability perspective, purchasing trends, behaviours and engagement across 10 of the world’s largest economies, including the USA, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, India, China, Japan, Spain so that you can go beyond the generalities. Gain market-by-market details on how to leverage consumer interest in health, value and human causes, enabling your brand to position products in this new era of conscious consumerism.

Enriched by over 75 innovative products and best-in-class marketing strategies handpicked by Mintel Consultant and Global Outlook on Sustainability author, Richard Cope, the study unveils the most effective tactics for helping responsible products resonate with consumers. This study isn’t just data. It’s your decisive edge in charting a course for commercial success in a sustainably-conscious world.

Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25

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Get strategic insight into your global sustainability messaging today.
Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25

Understanding the consumer sentiment that drives sustainability

The worldwide shift towards sustainability consciousness is reshaping consumer sentiment. To understand this better, let’s examine how consumer attitudes are changing in response to climate change, and explore where they seek sustainable solutions that deliver both efficiency and value.

Our study reveals that climate change, air quality and global warming are the top three sustainability concerns, illustrating that sustainable consumer attitudes are driven by health concerns and self-preservation. Recent global events pushed water and food shortages up people’s agendas since 2021, overtaking concerns for plastic pollution and deforestation. This shift can be traced back to first-hand experiences of climate change, such as record-breaking temperatures and droughts, which have heightened consumer awareness of water stresses. Disruptions to global food supply chains, resulting in higher prices, have drawn consumers’ focus towards factors that help protect their physical and financial health.

Our research shows that consumers are embracing sustainability in the purest form: by seeking efficiencies and reducing usage and expenditure.

We also know that ‘sustainability’ is the issue Mintel clients search for the most, as they aim to safeguard future resources, maintain a competitive edge, stay abreast of legislation and activism, and win customer buy-in. This is where our Global Outlook on Sustainability Study can help you make a difference. The 2024-25 study informs brands of the challenges that lie ahead, enables them to correctly identify where consumer priorities lie, giving them the opportunity to resonate with their consumers’ values, and ultimately, influence spending now and in the future.

Evolving consumer sustainability habits at the checkout and at home

Our comprehensive research addresses how as economic conditions have toughened, so have consumers’ attitudes, causing them to deprioritise sustainability as a purchase driver. We explore the growing ‘value action gap’ between consumers’ attitudes and behaviours. Since 2021, we’ve been asking consumers about their purchasing priorities for CPG products and have seen quality, familiarity and efficacy become entrenched as non-negotiable ‘red lines’ that couldn’t be crossed or sacrificed for environmental or ethical considerations. Despite this, our study indicates that sustainable considerations around recyclability, sourcing and workers’ rights continue to be among the top five considerations for consumers and important purchasing differentiators once fundamental needs have been met.

Despite slow rates of grocery behaviour change, we’ve observed a rising trend of consumers purchasing organic food and adopting a plant-based diet, with many buying meat or dairy alternatives on a weekly basis. However, we see encouraging levels of consumer engagement with energy consumption.

Our research supports industry narratives around the escalating transition towards cleaner energy sources for homes and transport. As of 2024, over one-third of our research participants are sourcing their energy from renewable resources, with a noticeable increase in the adoption of home solar and heat pumps. A similar upward curve is seen in electric vehicle (EV) adoption. With hybrid and full EV ownership and leasing on the rise, the hold of conventional petrol/diesel cars is diminishing.

Global Outlook on Sustainability: A Consumer Study 2024-25

10,000 consumers. 10 markets. Insights on consumer sentiment.

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What is the ‘Value Action Gap’ and why does it matter to sustainability?

Sometimes, consumers say one thing and do another. The term ‘value action gap’ best describes this gap between declared intent and actual behaviour. The discrepancy between consumers’ expressed values and behaviour is somewhat legendary in the sustainability field. While our data indicates a significant rise in consumer demand for sustainable products in their daily lives, consumers possess a diminished sense of impact and distrust corporate claims, contributing to the deprioritisation of sustainability in their purchase decisions.

Closing the ‘Value Action Gap’

At Mintel, we know the often paradoxical landscape that brands need to delicately navigate: consumer consciousness for sustainability is on the rise, yet, alarmingly, we are entering a phase where consumers are undergoing a crisis of environmental confidence, with their sense of optimism and impact reducing. Brands need to lean into this contradiction headfirst and explore the ‘implementation gap’ in our comprehensive Global Outlook on Sustainability Study by comparing consumers’ beliefs about what can reduce emissions with their behaviours.

Closing this gap requires brands to address three major challenges:

  1. Overcoming consumers’ diminished sense of impact
  2. Responding to how activism has created growing distrust of corporate claims and policies
  3. Acknowledging how consumers have deprioritised sustainability in purchasing considerations

To achieve this, we analyse consumer behaviour, product innovation and best-in-class campaigns to recommend strategic focus areas for brands. We educate brands to understand which solutions, actions and products already resonate with consumers, and which don’t, while also championing scientific progress.

Our sustainability market research reveals that distrust can be overcome through transparent marketing communications and metrics. We dig deep into the consumer psyche, asking them which sustainability claims or labels, if any, would significantly influence their purchasing decisions.

However, as consumers deprioritise sustainable considerations, so must marketers. Presently, consumers are focused on value, health and the human element. This sheds light on how brands must leverage these factors ahead of sustainable benefits. As we navigate through the climate crisis, humanising its solutions is key. Consumers tell us they want to see the positive impact sustainable products have on people. Now more than ever, consumers need tangible proof of this impact in marketing communications, as well as a clear understanding of the wellbeing and economic advantages of sustainable choices.

Global innovation: How brands are responding to evolving consumer sustainability priorities

Mintel insights indicate that personal health should be positioned and prioritised as a benefit of sustainable products wherever possible. New to the 2024-25 study, Mintel explores the innovative products and best-in-class campaigns that do just this.

One brand that is pioneering the environmental and human benefits of its product offering is USA’s Brooklyn Brewery. By working alongside seven other brands, Brooklyn Brewery has developed beers made with fonio – a hardy ancient grain that thrives in nutrient-poor soil near the Sahel Desert and is grown without fertilisers or pesticides. Brooklyn Brewery doesn’t just underscore the environmental advantage of its offerings, it goes beyond by highlighting that its fonio sourcing practice will provide income to smallholder, predominantly female-led farms. Complementing this is their “Brewing For Impact” initiative that helps fund scholarship awards for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) within the brewing and distilling trades.

This considerate initiative addresses consumer disillusion with sustainability while also appealing to the human element, placing the welfare of people first. This is just a snapshot of the many initiatives, campaigns and marketing tactics analysed in our expansive Global Outlook on Sustainability Study. We outline the marketing intelligence and strategies that can persuade consumers and positively influence them to buy responsible products.

Brooklyn Brewery Yolele

Corporate sustainability action equates to a successful business strategy

Recognising the urgency of sustainable corporate action not only safeguards against supply chain disruptions and punitive legislation but also unlocks a profitable business strategy driven by growing consumer expectations and demand.

Being a fundamental part of the problem also makes consumers key to the solution. Consumers are thinking like businesses, perceiving sustainability as a public threat and a resource issue rather than an emotive, environmental one. This understanding guides them towards making healthier, and more efficient consumption choices. Our Global Outlook on Sustainability Study equips you with the strategic insights to understand consumer sentiment in a sustainably conscious world.

Mintel research helps brands across the globe overcome challenges and grow through times of uncertainty. The challenge of sustainability is no different. We have gathered consumers’ ever-shifting sustainability perspective, purchasing trends, behaviours and engagement across 10 of the world’s largest economies so you can go beyond the generalities. Enter this new era of conscious consumerism with knowledge of the most effective tactics that will get your responsible products noticed. Our Global Outlook on Sustainability Study isn’t just data. It’s your decisive edge in charting a course for commercial success in a sustainably-conscious world. Transform our green insights into your gold.