Sustainable shopping in Canada.

Sustainability has been an important topic in Canada for quite some time.

PwC’s 2019 Canadian insights survey looked at Canadian consumers’ attitudes about sustainable shopping practices and found that with “food and non-food purchases, many consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that are ethically or sustainably produced.” Canadian shoppers are also concerned about excessive packaging, with many choosing to avoid plastic. A number of municipal or provincial bans on single-use plastics and shopping bags are already in effect and in December 2021, the Government of Canada announced it is making good on its pre-pandemic promise to banning environmentally harmful single-use plastics.

The Canadian consumer’s focus on sustainability has not only held strong during the pandemic, but according to the recent EY Future Consumer Index, Canada’s shoppers have increasingly embraced sustainability during the last two years, with many paying closer attention to what they buy, and who from.

While 61% of consumers say they will pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume, 64% also want good value for their money, resulting in a potential conflict between those goals. Suppliers and manufactures can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, thereby increasing customer loyalty to their preferred brand. In fact, the EY Future Consumer Index found that 69% of Canadian consumers expect companies to address sustainability issues.

The Canadian Health Food Association’s recent webinar included key take-ways that could be applied to multiple categories of both consumer and business to business products. As per that discussion, sustainable packaging should now be considered an must-have, and not an option. Sustainable packaging does not have to cost more; sustainable packaging that is lighter and/or requires less filler material may even reduce costs.

Packaging design is just one aspect of sustainability; there are also great opportunities to connect with customers regarding recycling and reusing. Some companies are adding QR codes on their packaging that links to video instructions on how to properly recycle/reuse/repurpose packaging and eliminate waste.

With environmental concerns becoming a rising consumer focus, businesses (including those in the Canadian market) should consider tailoring their products to meet their customers’ desire for sustainability.

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