Issy-les-Moulineaux, France - December 11th, 2023
An action-oriented barometer: identifying and activating the change levers towards more sustainable diets.
Sodexo reveals the results of the first international sustainable food barometer carried out in partnership with the research and opinion polls institute Harris Interactive.
Conducted in 2023 among more than 5,000 people in Brazil, France, the United Kingdom and the United States, this exclusive study breaks down the disparities between people's representations of sustainable food and their associated behaviors for the first time.
This action-oriented barometer aims to identify the concrete obstacles as well as the levers to induce changes in eating habits and accelerate the shift towards more sustainable diets.
Sophie Bellon, Chairwoman of Sodexo's Board of Directors & Chief Executive Officer: "Operating in 45 countries and serving 80 million consumers every day, Sodexo is a privileged observer of the changes in people's behaviors, expectations and aspirations. By launching this first international sustainable food barometer, we wanted to gain a better understanding of aspirations, obstacles, and concrete levers for changing individual practices. Our ambition is to set the entire ecosystem in motion to accelerate real change."
The three key takeaways of the barometer1:
First takeaway: The awareness of the urgent need to change eating habits is not only well-established, but also positively perceived
- Overall, 75% of people surveyed have a positive perception of sustainable food, as they spontaneously associate it with feelings such as optimism and pleasure. 59% of them believe that adopting a more sustainable diet improves their quality of life.
- Awareness of the urgent need to change our eating habits is now universal: across all generations and all income categories, nearly 8 out of 10 respondents (79%) believe that adopting more sustainable behaviors is an urgent matter.
- The majority of people aspire to eat in a more sustainable way in all the out-of-home food places they use every day: restaurants, schools, universities and company restaurants.
- A majority of respondents say they have already adopted sustainable food habits: 71% say they reduce their waste, 63% eat seasonal produce and 55% buy local produce whenever possible.
Second takeaway: a gap between aspirations and actual behaviors
- The urgency feeling comes up against entrenched eating habits.
- The barometer highlights a discrepancy between people's perception of their food and its actual sustainability. 56% think their food is already sustainable. Yet for example, dairy products (78%) and meat (71%) remain among the most regularly consumed products, far ahead of cereals (60%) and plant-based proteins (45%), with a notably lower carbon footprint.
- According to the study, the changes that people are prepared to make are more a matter of adjustments than actual in-depth transformations. For example, when asked about the alternatives they might introduce into their diet, respondents answer with products they already consume. To replace meat, they mention eggs or dairy products. On the other hand, the barometer reveals a certain reluctance to embrace little-known alternatives such as seaweed and insects.
- In their everyday food choices, consumers prioritize cost (73%) and taste (62%) over the product's environmental impact (30%).
- Sustainable food suffers from several misconceptions: 40% of those surveyed believed it is more expensive, and a third of citizens feel that it is difficult to find sustainable products and believe that adopting a sustainable diet requires effort.
Third takeaway: the benefits of sustainable food are more motivating when perceived as individual rather than collective.
- Convincing people to adopt more sustainable eating habits means demonstrating the individual benefits regarding health, taste, and savings.
- According to the barometer, in all countries, the primary motivation for eating more sustainably in all countries is the expected health benefits (46%). This is generally followed by the expected financial savings (35%).
Anna Notarianni, Sodexo Group's Chief Impact Officer: "By highlighting the gap between respondents' acute awareness of the challenges surrounding sustainable food and their actual behaviors, this barometer provides us with guidelines to change firmly rooted habits: raising awareness about plant-forward alternatives, facilitating access to little-known products, or providing ideas for tasty, simple, and sustainable recipes. This study reminds us of how important it is to take the human into account when leading change: health, taste and pleasure are essential drivers in making sustainability more desirable".
With the ambition of being the leader in sustainable food, Sodexo Group is fully committed to progress.
Sodexo has taken on the responsibility of positively influencing the food choices of the 80 million consumers it serves daily towards a more balanced and sustainable diet. The Group has identified four priority levers that will enable Sodexo to reduce its emissions by 90% by 2040 across its entire value chain, from farm to fork:
- Products: by promoting local and sustainable farming practices, supporting suppliers in reducing their carbon emissions, and developing local and short-distance sourcing. This way, the Group turns its supply chain into an essential part of its action plan, and extends to its suppliers its desire to have a positive impact on people and on the planet;
- Cooking: by designing new sustainable recipes, with the aim of labeling 70% of its main dishes "low-carbon" by 2030. To mobilize its teams around this challenge, Sodexo has launched dedicated MasterClasses. They are designed to turn Sodexo Chefs, nutritionists, buyers and marketing teams into ambassadors for food transformation, in turn encouraging customers and consumers to make more responsible choices. Well aware that pleasure is an essential lever for changing eating habits, Sodexo Chefs invent tasty plant-forward dishes everyday, adapted to the diversity of people and food choices around the world. With its offers and brands such as Modern Recipe in France, Good Eating Company and Fooditude abroad, the Group demonstrates everyday that it is possible to offer tasty dishes by balancing plant and animal proteins;
- Energy: by optimizing energy use in all its clients' sites through less energy-intensive preparation methods, training site managers, and achieving the goal of 100% renewable electricity on sites operated directly by Sodexo by 2025;
- Waste: by expanding its WasteWatch program to 85% of its catering sites by 2025, in order to achieve Sodexo's goal of cutting food waste in half in all its operations by the same date.
Humbly, and with the conviction that efforts must continue, these examples reflect Sodexo's commitment to work collectively in order to accelerate the transformation of food practices. This is engrained in the pursuit of progress which drives Sodexo's actions everyday.
Founded in Marseille in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in sustainable food and valued experiences at every moment in life: learn, work, heal and play. The Group stands out for its independence, its founding family shareholding and its responsible business model. Its portfolio of activities includes Sodexo Food and Facilities Management Services and Pluxee Employee Benefit Solutions, activity for which the Group announced a spin-off and listing project in early 2024. This diversified offer meets all the challenges of everyday life with a dual goal: to improve the quality of life of our employees and those we serve, and contribute to the economic, social and environmental progress in the communities where we operate. For Sodexo, growth and social commitment go hand in hand. Our purpose is to create a better everyday for everyone to build a better life for all.
Sodexo is included in the CAC Next 20, CAC 40 ESG, CAC SBT 1.5, FTSE 4 Good and DJSI indices.
About Harris Interactive
Toluna and Harris Interactive, partners in agile research to design the world of tomorrow.
Toluna is revolutionizing the world of consumer and human insights by combining innovative technology with direct, real-time access to the world's largest research community.
Harris Interactive brings together best-in-class experts and supports all types of clients in making the right decisions, always one step ahead.
The recent acquisitions of Gutcheck and MetrixLab demonstrate the Group's commitment to offering unrivalled research capabilities and supporting brands as they grow; on a global scale, thanks to 2,500 passionate talents.
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1The complete results of the barometer can be found on www.sodexo.com
- PR Sodexo - Harris Interactive Sustainable Food Barometer - ENG (https://ml-eu.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/35d8fccd-d28e-4cec-93b2-69bb72e075fc)