Consumerism And Waste
You never have to go too long without hearing a complaint about consumerism causing waste around the world and in June 2013, the latest person to speak out about this topic was Pope Francis. The Argentinean Pope stated his opinion that wasting good food was akin to stealing from the poor from around the world and has once again shifted the focus onto major firms around the world.
Governments have often led the way in drives to reduce food wastage as they seek to lower their national carbon emissions and to reduce the amount of refuse that is being sent to landfill sites.
The thing is, the benefits of reducing waste are going to appeal to consumers for a number of reasons and this has helped provide many companies with new marketing opportunities to better target these consumers. Many firms have redesigned their product packaging to reduce the amount of waste that is on offer and companies are also providing smaller product sizes and options of many of their brands.
Family packs and big multi-save options are still available and can provide a great financial benefit over standard size products but companies know that there is a savvier consumer to target. The fact that these smaller products are able to provide bigger profit margins for firms is a great draw as well! By marketing the benefits of reduced waste, firms are able to promote directly to consumers who claim to have the environment at heart.
The “green” market is a huge one in the current climate and many firms have realised the benefits of providing a greater focus in this area. The fact that the media and governments around the world are keen to promote greener products is a great benefit to companies looking to find strong consumer markets to aim at.
With respect to wasting food, governments around the world are keen to extend sell-buy dates and to scrap the notion of best before dates. Previous generations were not concerned about such things but the products produced today are very different from the food products that were sold 40 or 50 years ago. The increase in chemical treatments and additives in the modern food cycle means that food looks great up front but it decays a lot quicker.
With consumers being encouraged to do weekly or monthly shops to save money through buying in bulk, food producers have been reducing the shelf life of many of their products. This leads to many consumers carrying out a big shop but then implementing numerous shopping trips throughout the week to supplement the products that have gone to waste.
In encouraging smaller product sizes, the major retailers are encouraging more repeat visits from shoppers and this means they can benefit more from impulse purchases, among other things. Buying smaller amounts a time can lead to less waste but it will also lead to greater profits for firms.