Connecting with consumers on DEI and sustainability expectations in the grocery industry

April 7, 2023

Man and women shopping in a supermarket

Diving deeper into our 2022 Higher Impact research, we explored consumer sentiments from across Canada, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US in connection with five industries (Fashion, Health & Beauty, Travel, Grocery, and Auto) to better understand how they feel about the role of brands around the issues of sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Grocery brands are a staple of many consumers’ shopping experiences

The pivotal role brands hold in the grocery industry is unique, and consumers look to them as leaders on important causes like sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Consumers expect grocery brands to embrace DEI

Consumers feel that there’s no single path to becoming a DEI leader in the grocery industry, but rather a wide array of steps brands can take toward operating inclusively.

To global consumers, a brand’s commitment to DEI in the grocery industry could be:

Woman checking out products in a store

Variety of food products to suit every ethnicity or race

Man with a grocery bag

A multicultural company whose employees come from different races, backgrounds, or groups

Man and baby shopping in a supermarket

Seeing everyone as one and accepting everyone

In an increasingly connected world, consumers want to see grocery brands commit to DEI

Whether it’s equitable hiring, fair labor practices, or more multicultural products on the shelves, it’s important to consumers that grocery brands take action to commit to DEI.

46% of global consumers think it’s important that the grocery brands they purchase from are committed to DEI, which is slightly more than the 44% average across the industries surveyed.


When it comes to DEI, consumers are doing their research

With the internet at their fingertips and DEI an increasing priority, consumers are more likely to do their own research on a grocery brand’s DEI commitments before making a purchase.

38% of consumers are likely to carry out their own research on a grocery brand’s commitment to DEI prior to making a purchase.


Consumers define sustainability in their own terms

Sustainability in the grocery industry means different things to different consumers. To global consumers surveyed, some of the top ways grocery brands can show commitment to sustainability include buying locally grown to reduce transport, less packaging or more recyclable materials, production sites/farms that consider the environment, and less wasted food.

Keeping sustainability in mind can go a long way with consumers

Environmental considerations are more than a trend, and almost 3 in 4 consumers surveyed—especially those in cities—believe in purchasing from grocery brands that are committed to sustainability.

71% of global consumers surveyed note that it’s very important that the grocery brands they purchase from are committed to sustainability.


Urban respondents


Suburban respondents


Rural respondents

Consumers want to see brands taking authentic, verifiable steps toward sustainability

Over half of the respondents—especially those under 45 years old—said they research grocery brands’ sustainability practices before making a purchase.

54% of respondents stated that prior to making a purchase, they are likely to carry out their own research on sustainability or sustainable options on grocery brands, with the following breaking that down by age:

Circles showing: 
Ages 18-24 (55%) 
Ages 25-44 (58%)
Ages 45-65 (49%)

Actions brands can take

With global consumers surveyed having DEI and sustainability top of mind, here are some actions brands in the grocery industry can potentially take:

  1. Align purpose with action to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and DEI
  2. Center brand strategy on consumer needs to build trust and credibility
  3. Make sure customers connect with your brand story by showcasing sustainability and DEI efforts through channels and solutions like Amazon Ads Streaming TV, audio ads, and other multi-objective brand-building strategies.

Source: Amazon Ads with Environics Research, 2022 Higher Impact study, CA, DE, JP, UK, and US