Consumer concerns raised over food shortages

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer concerns raised over food shortages

Related tags Supply chain

Consumer concerns over food shortages and climate change have escalated, new research from the 2022 Mintel Consulting Sustainability Barometer.

The report said that concern over water shortages (up from 27% in 2021 to 31% in 2022) and food shortages (up from 17% to 23%) have made the most significant gains in terms of environmental priorities in the past 12 months as extreme weather events and the conflict in Ukraine make these “troubling realities”​ more commonplace.

Consumer concerns mean that brands' and manufacturers' own sustainability initiatives need to rely on value and convenience.

Earlier this month it was revealed that shocks created by war, Covid-19 and the climate ​have begun to overwhelm the fragile food supply chain, raising it to the top of the geopolitical agenda. 

Escalated fears

Earlier this year a leading economist revealed​that the effects on the food and agricultural sector of the war in Ukraine were going to be 'profound' with ramifications across the food chain. 

The report also said that consumer fears over climate change have escalated around the globe over the last year. According to, the number of global consumers citing climate change as a top three environmental concern has risen from an average of 39% to 46% between 2021-22, it said.

While environmental priorities have shifted in the last year, consumers’ sustainable behaviours remain focused on simplicity and frugality: recycling packaging (59% in 2022 v 60% in 2021) and meal planning to avoid food waste (53% in 2022 v 52% in 2021).

Food shortages 

“The fact that concerns around climate change and water and food shortages are being prioritised ahead of previous preoccupations with waste and plastic pollution points towards the emergence of a more informed and hardened global consumer​,” said Richard Cope, senior trends consultant at Mintel Consulting. 

“Soaring temperatures, extreme weather events and disruptions to food, water and energy supply chains have given consumers a harsh reality check, hurting their health and wallets.”

He added: “Our research shows that the majority of consumers continue to see recycling and mitigating waste as important sustainable behaviours. This tells us that simple, frugal behaviours are the most popular among consumers which underlines the fact that brands’ sustainability initiatives need to deliver on value and convenience.” 




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