Consumers spent 20% more on ‘sustainable food’ last year

Consumers are spending more on ‘sustainable food’ in supermarkets than in previous years, thanks in part to the coronavirus lockdown and cafe closures, according to researchers at Wageningen University and national statistics agency CBS.

In total, consumer spending on sustainable food – categorised as food produced by methods which go beyond the regulatory minimum in terms of animal welfare, the social impact and the environment – rose by 21% last year. In 2019, the increase was just 7%.

Tea and coffee showed the biggest increase, at 34%, but sales of potatoes, vegetables, fruit, bread, grain products, cakes, eggs and dairy all showed increases in the region of 30%.

By contrast, the sale of non sustainable foodstuffs rose far less, or even fell and  consumers bought 27% fewer ordinary eggs, for example. Spending on sustainable frozen and ready to eat meals soared 53% while the non labelled versions dropped 3%.

Earlier research has shown than specialist food retailers also benefited from the lockdown and shift away from eating out.

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