The data is clear to see: 80% of consumers lean towards leading brands in the area of sustainability. And another 70% have a real interest in discovering the origin and traceability of what they buy in a supermarket. And the key is that they are no longer satisfied with fair trade products or a simple reduction in plastic: they want to see real sustainability. The good news for them is that 2020 will see striking new features in this regard: people will be able to shop with recycled shopping baskets and trolleys such as those unveiled by Araven at Euroshop 2020 under the name Oceanis. Another example illustrating that the sector intends to continue taking firm measures.
Sustainability is profitable
According to data published by the UN, companies that have adapted to the change in model are already growing 15% more than companies that are simply doing nothing. The retail sector, as we pointed out in the previous paragraph, has not the slightest intention of tiptoeing around in this regard: aware that consumers want to see their own values reflected in the companies they trust, the commitment to providing far more sustainable equipment is already part of the sector´s DNA. Although for the time being, most efforts are being focused on reducing the most pollutant packaging, by rewarding “greener” solutions.
The environmental agenda, key for retailers
“Digitisation” and “Innovation” will be two additional trends on the path to sustainability. Nobody will be surprised to see the sector has been placing a constant focus on consumers throughout 2020. They will be the ones taking advantage of the innovative products and services and will mark, as they have been doing up to now, the path the major brands in relation to environmental matters will need to take.
It was the consumers themselves who, for example, demanded taking their own bags to supermarkets in order to shop without generating so much single-use plastic. And this is just one example; the real key will be embracing the change involving a definitive commitment to waste reduction and the almost total elimination of the most pollutant containers. It has been baptised “target zero waste”.
Moreover, huge efforts will continue to be made “with regard to efficiency in stores, logistics and assortment, aspects in which the proximity supermarket format has acquired leading positions”, as predicted by Ignacio García Magarzo, the managing director of ASEDAS. Almost certainly, the leading trends that are already leaving their mark will adapt to this context perfectly. A prime example is the aforementioned Aravis Oceanis range: shopping baskets and trolleys made from recycled plastic, which will raise the awareness of the sector with regard to sustainability.
Adapting to the “demographic, sociological and technological evolution where everything is changing” is another item to be taken into account within the retail sector. And it is true to say that practically nothing has remained as it was: family units, types of homes and lifestyles have changed; what is now demanded is more sustainable production that provides moments of consumption associated with health and pleasure.
In this context, as Aurelio del Pino, president of ACES, foresees in this analysis, “companies need to respond to these new scenarios.” “We believe in the supermarket as the most effective meeting point between people and products, and in its ability to render many of the changes taking place more dynamic, such as the promotion of healthier eating and living habits and positive action to improve the environment”, he concludes.
What changes have been detected up to now?
Data provided by Greenpeace illustrates that the most positive measures taken up to now include:
- A 20% reduction in the use of disposable plastic by 2025.
- The introduction of reusable bags for wholesale shopping.
- Priority being given to a real reduction in all single-use packaging and other plastics.
- Allowing consumers to take their own containers to buy fresh products.
Can anything else be offered to consumers who really care about sustainability? Yes, it can: sustainable retail equipment is also the order of the day and can actively contribute to responding to these new scenarios forecast for 2020.
Will the time actually arrive when we can shop with supermarket baskets and trolleys made of recycled material? Everything points to this happening.