Four Factors Influencing Consumers’ Conscious Consumption

Yogurt with nuts and blueberriesWhat influences your customer’s purchasing decisions when it comes to food? Is it clean labels? Health benefits? Price? Sourcing?

Truth is, there typically isn’t just one factor that causes consumers to choose one product over another. It takes a multi-faceted approach to capture their attention and capture market share.

Food rituals and conscious consumption play major roles in people’s purchasing decisions. But what is conscious consumption? That, too, has a multi-faceted answer.

Eco-Conscious Consumption

Consumers want to do their part to minimize their impact on the environment, causing them to take a closer look at traditional eating habits. Many are opting for more natural and locally sourced ingredients that reduce their carbon footprint. Some scientists suggest that portions of the earth’s ecosystem are at a tipping point. Extreme weather events and wildfires are being blamed, in part, on human activities, and excessive use of chemicals and pesticides in food production is also under scrutiny.

For those with ecological concerns, choosing food with minimal or biodegradable packaging is important, which is evidenced in the growing number of zero-waste grocers. Other factors such as the distance food needs to be transported and even energy use for refrigeration can weigh in their decisions.

Manufacturers that find uses for by-products or items that would normally end up in landfills or the environment can appeal to eco-conscious consumers. Upcycling food waste from all points on the supply chain is an effective way to be a part of the solution and help reduce the roughly 1.3 billion tons of food intended for human consumption that gets wasted globally each year.

Geo-Conscious Consumption

A growing number of consumers are concerned with where their food comes from and want locally sourced products. Commodity products from outside the U.S. are meeting with greater scrutiny due to the lack of regulations and oversight in foreign markets. Persistent food safety issues continue to be a concern with Chinese goods, for example, causing many to question the origin of all the ingredients contained in the foods they buy.

Increasingly, consumers seek out locally or regionally sourced products that are made in the U.S. When food manufacturers can pinpoint the geographic region in which their ingredients are sourced, it can create additional promotional opportunities and label claims.

Health-Conscious Consumption

The pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is nothing new. The attitudes of how to achieve it have changed, however. Most consumers have caught on that fad diets and strict calorie-counting have done little to shrink our waistlines. On the contrary, weight gain among individuals has become an even greater concern with many suggesting that the U.S. is facing an obesity epidemic.

Instead, a greater emphasis is being placed on increasing protein, eating healthy fats, and ensuring proper nutrition to fuel our bodies. Studies show that focusing on wholesome nutrition (rather than the old mantra of depriving ourselves) results in greater long-term success in weight loss and metabolic health.

Self-Conscious Consumption

Mindful eating and food rituals are a hot topic these days. Consumers aren’t just selecting foods that make them feel good physically, but are also influenced by how the foods they eat make them feel emotionally. Something as simple as an eating ritual can enhance consumption for everything from decadent chocolate and refreshing lemonade to even carrots and common health foods, according to one study.

Feeling good about the foods we consume goes beyond just eating and encompasses the entire experience starting from the moment we write out our shopping list at the kitchen counter. From there, mindful eaters also consider other rituals, such as shopping experiences, reading food labels, preparation requirements, a product’s sustainability, minimizing food waste and more. When a consumer can feel good about every aspect of the foods they eat, they simply feel better about themselves.

Why Whey Protein Concentrate Aligns With Conscious Consumption

As a producer of all-natural whey protein concentrate, such as Grande Bravo® functional whey protein, we understand the importance of overcoming a wide range of consumer concerns and formulation challenges. Not only is our whey protein a sustainable ingredient that is a product of the cheese-making industry, it is ethically sourced from dedicated Midwest dairy farms, ensuring a safe and traceable chain of custody. This isn’t the case with all commodity whey proteins, especially those sourced outside the U.S.

And, of course, most are familiar with the numerous health benefits of whey protein and how its use isn’t just limited to fitness fanatics. This innovative ingredient is showing up in everything from soups, sauces, dips and dressings to baked goods, frozen desserts, and snack foods.

Because Grande Bravo is used as a replacement for fresh dairy and eggs and is shelf stable, it also helps food manufacturers reduce their costs and carbon footprint due to less energy usage from refrigeration in addition to reduced food waste due to spoilage. It’s also a perfect alternative to artificial gums and starches, appealing to the clean label trend.

Aligning with the many aspects of conscious consumption means little if your product doesn’t taste good or has undesirable textures. With Grande Bravo, your products can achieve the same rich, creamy taste and texture of full-fat dairy without the fat and calories.

Changing consumer preferences are just one reason why food manufacturers are reformulating. See others and get formulation tips in our free eBook. Just click the link below.

To learn more about how Grande Bravo functional whey protein and other whey protein products from Grande Custom Ingredients Group can align with your goals and those of your customers, contact us today.

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