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  • NETMEDIA International

Sustainability: Are European consumers prepared to adopt new consumption habits?

YouGov conducted a survey of over 10,000 consumers in 9 European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Finland and Turkey) to show the influence of environmental issues on consumer purchasing behaviour.

What are the most important criteria for Europeans when it comes to food and everyday consumer purchases? Yougov asked panelists about legislative measures such as the introduction of an environmental tax and the banning of plastic bags - an analysis that highlights the disparities between countries.

Looking at the criteria of European consumers, we can clearly see that the criterion of product quality comes out on top with a score of 88%, followed closely by price attractiveness (82%).

53% of Europeans agree that access to a range of sustainably produced products is important - a percentage that is still lower than the two previous criteria. There are significant differences between the 9 countries: most Italian (72%), Turkish (72%), Spanish (70%) and French (57%) consumers attach importance to sustainably produced products, while this aspect is less important for Finns (41%), Danes (39%) and Norwegians (29%). At the same time, for 57% of Europeans the eco-responsible dimension of the shop is an important criterion.

To what extent are sustainable development considerations reflected in their daily lives and consumption?

Two points of view stand out on a European scale. Turks (77%), Italians (77%), and French (67%) are the most likely to say that sustainability considerations influence their eating and shopping habits. In contrast, a majority of Norwegians (63%) and Danes (50%) say it does not affect their choices.

Perception of single-use plastic bags

At the end of August 2019, France adopted a new measure to ban single-use utensils, cups and plates. This measure is a follow-up to the country's ban on plastic bags the previous year.

68% of Europeans say single-use plastic bags should be banned.

Overall, people in Southern Europe seem to be more concerned about this issue: 82% of Spaniards, 81% of French and 80% of Italians agree that there should be no more plastic bags, compared to 51% of Finns and 54% of Swedes and Norwegians.

Perception of environmental taxes

Should we pay extra for beef or other foods and drinks that have a negative impact on the environment? When it comes to paying extra taxes for food and drink, Europeans are divided. While half of Italians (51%) and Spaniards (49%) say they would be willing to pay an environmental tax, only 35% of French and Germans feel this way.

Young people are more likely to agree to pay environmental taxes than their elders (44% of 18-39 year olds vs. 38% of those over 40).

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