A new survey conducted by global agribusiness giant Cargill has found that sustainability considerations now influence the majority of shoppers worldwide when buying packaged foods.

Published on 3 February, the FATitudes survey found that 55% of consumers said they were more likely to buy a packaged product if it included a sustainability claim, a four-point increase since the company last conducted the study in 2019.

“Our latest findings clearly demonstrate that messages surrounding sustainability are having an impact on consumers,” Nese Tagma, managing director of strategy and innovation for Cargill’s global edible oils business, said.

“Insights like these help guide our consumer-focused approach to innovation, enabling us to partner with customers to co-create new products and solutions that reflect current consumer trends and ingredient preferences.”

The latest FATitudes survey, conducted last year, included approximately 6,000 primary grocery shoppers in 11 countries – Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Philippines, Russia, the United Kingdom and USA.

Cargill said the survey provided an insight into consumers’ awareness, perceptions and behaviours around the oils and fats found in packaged food.

An increased interest in sustainability was the most notable change from the previous survey’s results, with more than half of the countries surveyed showing an increase in the influence of sustainability claims.

Brazil and Mexico both saw 13-point increases in the purchase impact of sustainability claims between 2019 and 2021, with such claims now driving purchase decisions for 74% and 66% of consumers respectively.

India also posted double-digit increases, with 67% of consumers indicating they were more likely to purchase packaged food with sustainability claims, an 11-point increase from 2019.

In the UK, Cargill found 51% of consumers said they placed a greater emphasis on sustainability, an eight-point jump in two years.

US consumers were also more aware of sustainability claims, Cargill said, with 37% saying they were more likely to purchase packaged food with a sustainability claim, a six-point increase compared to 2019 results.

The latest survey also asked consumers, for the first time, what kind of sustainability claim they were looking for.

“Sustainably sourced” and “conservation of natural resources” ranked highest, well ahead of more specific claims such as Fair Trade, reduced packaging and fair/living wages in most every country included in the survey, Cargill said.