Is 2023 the Year for Actionable Sustainability?

Tim Denman
February 7, 2023
Is 2023 the Year for Actionable Sustainability?

At A Glance

  • 71% of grocers have made sustainability a 2023 priority.
  • 76% of grocers report that improving sustainability is a c-level goal.
  • Waste reduction is grocers’ number-one sustainability priority.
  • 37% of shoppers will pay a premium for sustainable products.
  • Shoppers will pay between 11%-17% more for sustainable products.

Grocers have filed their future roadmaps with strategies and initiatives designed to address consumers' sustainability concerns and build an eco-friendly enterprise intended to compete in a quickly evolving marketplace.

While sustainability is a hot topic, the movement has quickly evolved from a buzzword to an action item. Savvy grocers make sizeable investments in programs and personnel devoted to building their present and future sustainable enterprises.

In its January 2023 "Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard," Grocery Doppio asked a series of questions to more than 2,300 grocery executives designed to uncover their sustainability plans for the next 12 months. The monthly scorecards benchmark the current state of digital grocery and provide unique insight into industry trends.

Leadership Take the Reigns

As sustainability grows in the public consciousness, it has grown in lockstep within grocery organizations. According to the "Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard," sustainability has become a priority at the industry's highest levels, with 76% of grocers reporting that improving sustainability is a c-level goal within their organization.

With three-quarters of grocers elevating sustainability to a c-level objective, it is not surprising that more than 7 in 10 (71%) say that improving sustainability is a 2023 priority. To help turn sustainability goals into sustainability action, 43% of grocers plan to appoint an executive to lead enterprise sustainability over the next 12 months.

Where will grocers focus their sustainability efforts? Waste reduction is the number-one priority, with 83% of grocers reporting it as a top priority. Joining waste reduction as top sustainability priorities are energy utilization, named by 77% of grocers, and packaging improvement, cited by 66% of those surveyed.

Meeting Shopper Expectations

Many consumers are concerned about sustainability and make purchase decisions based on consumer goods companies' and retailers' commitment to eco-consciousness.

Thirty-seven percent of shoppers report that they will pay a premium for sustainable products, and nearly three-quarters (73%) would like sustainability-related product information on the product label and digital channels to aid decision-making. How much of a premium would environmentally-focused consumers be willing to pay for a sustainable product? According to Grocery Doppio research, shoppers would pay between 11%-17% more for sustainable products.

Sustainability consciousness extends beyond individual product choices and influences consumer decisions on which grocer to shop. More than 6 in 10 (61%) shoppers report that their preferred grocer has adopted sustainability practices in the past 12 months.

While a large segment of grocers has adopted sustainability practices, the industry as a whole has not done an excellent job communicating those initiatives with shoppers. Just 23% of shoppers say that their preferred grocer does a good job communicating their sustainability efforts.

Monthly Insight

For more insight into the current state of sustainability and how the digital grocery industry is performing overall, be sure to read the entire "State of Digital Grocery Performance Scorecard, January 2023" report.