Environmental Sustainability in Consumersâ€™ Food Choices: An Empirical Study
Keywords:Environmental Sustainability, Environmental concerns, Consumer preference, Consumer purchasing behaviour
With growing concern about ecological safety and resource optimisation, both industry and consumers are becoming conscious in making sustainable decisions. Through integrated supply chain practices, ecologically safe product attributes, lean manufacturing practices and focussed sales and marketing strategies, a sustainable Agro-Food ecosystem can be established. Out of the three spheres of sustainability, environmental factors are prioritised over economic and social/ethical parameters and it has been widely recognised by now. As role of consumer is as critical as of industry, efforts are being made on both the parts to achieve environmental sustainability. Present study has been carried out to examine consumer understanding about environmental sustainability and what priority concerns of environment are taken into consideration by consumer while making sustainable food choices. For this purpose, survey data was collected from 369 Indian consumers thorough a structured questionnaire. Results indicated lower level of concern towards among consumersâ€™ over-exploitation of marine resources whereas air pollution through carbon emission was regarded as most important concern in environmental concern parameter followed by scarcity of water. When product information is displayed, consumer purchasing behaviour showed that overall environmental friendliness of the products is preferred after single environmental attributes of recyclable and organic claim of the product. The results imply that environmental preference plays moderate role in consumer food purchasing decisions and future scope depends on the extent to which consumer general concern about environmental sustainability reflects in their actual buying behaviour. This study can support connecting the ecological concept more deeply with sustainability and can serve as a guide for environmental managers.