Cargill’s proprietary TrendTracker™ insights, which identifies the global trends that influence how and what consumers buy, finds rising expectations for brands to engage in socially and environmentally responsible practices. Six in 10 global consumers say where and how a product is made is very important to them. Here in the U.S., more than half of consumers (53%) say environmental sustainability is important in food products they purchase. Brands are taking note, responding with an uptick in new product launches that include an ethical environmental positioning. (+6% CAGR 2016-2020, U.S.)

Cargill’s 2021 global FATitudes™ survey affirms this growing concern for the environment. Our research, which tracks consumers’ awareness and behaviors around fats and oils found in packaged food such as potato chips and cookies, revealed that sustainability has gained importance in consumers’ food choices. We found that 55% of consumers indicate they’re more likely to purchase a packaged food item if it includes a sustainable claim, a four-point jump since we last fielded this research in 2019.

The global survey, which was conducted in summer 2021, included approximately 6,000 primary grocery shoppers in 11 countries. More than half of the countries surveyed showed an increase in the influence of sustainability claims, including the U.S. We found four in 10 (37%) American consumers indicated they were more likely to purchase packaged food with a sustainability claim. This represents a 6-point increase compared to 2019 results and a 16-point jump since we fielded the first FATitudes survey in 2013. 

For the first time, we asked consumers what type of sustainability claim they were looking for. In the U.S., “sustainably sourced” (63%) and “responsible sourcing” (57%) topped the list. As consumers become more concerned and aware of issues surrounding sustainability, demand for ethically and sustainably sourced products will only grow. 

Cargill’s Sustainable Cookie Concept

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s no longer enough to create a great-tasting product. Increasingly, it’s the compelling story that captivates consumers. Shoppers expect companies to provide information and a high degree of honesty about ingredients, including their origin and production processes. Cargill, we’ve taken those desires to heart, developing supply chains across our ingredient portfolio that deliver on those demands for transparency and sustainability. 

Too often, we see brands address sustainability in terms of individual commodities, but we believe  customers should take a more holistic view.  To illustrate the possibilities, we created a Sustainable Cookie Concept that showcases how brands can truly bring sustainable sourcing to life. It demonstrates that whatever the customer’s product or challenge, we have the ingredient portfolio and global reach to help them achieve their sustainability goals.

Made with RSPO-segregated palm oil, responsibly sourced chocolate chips, sustainably produced stevia, traceable pea protein, and quinoa and pastry flour produced using stewardship practices from field to bakery – the cookie showcases Cargill’s sustainability capabilities across ingredients and supply chains.

Individually, each of these ingredients is backed by its own unique narrative around sustainable sourcing. However, when used together, they enable brands to tell a more compelling story around all the major ingredients used in their baked goods.

More than ever, consumers care about the standards behind the products they buy. They want assurance that raw materials are sourced in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, with high regard for social standards and ethical economic practices. At Cargill, we’re enabling brands to deliver on those expectations, by building sustainable, traceable and transparent supply chains across our ingredient portfolio.