define('DISALLOW_FILE_EDIT', true); define('DISALLOW_FILE_MODS', true); Rising costs are pushing consumers away from sustainable products » strategy

Rising costs are pushing consumers away from sustainable products

EY finds Canadians are more interested in things like cutting food waste and second hand shopping than buying higher-priced green products from brands.

Canadian consumers are increasingly turned off from buying higher-priced sustainable products as rising inflation is making household costs more top of mind.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t care about sustainability. They are merely more interested in taking things into their own hands.

That’s among the findings from EY’s latest Future Consumer Index, which is a regular poll of 18,000 consumers from 24 countries.

The survey found that 68% of Canadians say they are “put off” from buying products marked as “sustainable” by brands and retailers, due to their higher price point. This comes as inflation and a looming recession is making 80% of Canadians more concerned about their finances, with more than half of households expecting their cost of living to go up.

However, this doesn’t mean that sustainability is less of a priority. Rather, they are turning away from things branded as sustainable in favour of “conscious consumption” that also happen to help them cut costs: 85% say they are cutting back on food waste, 69% say they are repairing their belongings rather than replacing them and 25% say they are buying second-hand products.

Another 72% of respondents no longer feel the need to buy new products to keep up with seasonal fashion trends, with more than half saying they are more comfortable in their own skin and rely less on beauty and cosmetics to boost confidence.

These forms of “conscious consumption” can be seen as driving renewed interest in thrifting, which has turned the secondhand market into an industry projected to be worth $77 billion globally by 2025, up from $36 billion in 2021.

This week, Kraft Heinz looked to capitalize on this by launching a 157-piece fashion collection of ketchup stained clothes sourced from second-hand fashion marketplace ThredUp. The somewhat-cheeky goal of the campaign was turn a ketchup stain into a trendy fashion statement, delivering a more serious message about not needing to discard clothes because of small imperfections.