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SCP Consumer Survey 2021

April 2021

To assess the status quo of consumer awareness and be able to monitor project progress and effectiveness, a consumer survey was conducted in 2018 to measure purchasing and consumption behaviour, consumer knowledge, and perception around sustainable consumption and production. The results from the survey were used in developing the campaign on raising awareness on responsible consumption and can be viewed here.

INTAGE was commissioned to repeat the survey again at the end of Phase 1 of the project in 2021.

The results of the 2021 consumer survey pointed us towards more effective action points.

Awareness on the effect consumption habits have on the environment has increased when the consumers were surveyed in 2021, in some areas significantly. For instance, the survey saw significant improvement in terms of awareness on deforestation (55%) compared to only 28% in the 2018 survey (with no significant difference across generations). However, in spite of a higher level of awareness generally speaking, a vast majority of people still feel that they do not have sufficient information on SCP and do not feel they need to have information. 79% of the sampled population mentioned that they are not aware of the linkage between consumption and environmental degradation and 73% of the sampled population mentioned that they are not aware of proper organization or communication on this topic.

Social Media Listen tools were also used to monitor what consumer say online in order to measure the level of awareness on SCP topics What the survey found was most of the results on SCP however is driven by brands, not by consumers, and we saw some gaps in consumer understanding, awareness and the different concepts of Organic Food and SCP. More consumer education may therefore be required to address this.

Consumption Behaviour
When respondents (across all age groups) were asked to indicate the most important factor in buying food, an overwhelming majority (84%) chose “Cleanliness” followed by “Reasonable price” (72%). Other factors like processing, sourcing, standardization, which relate directly to SCP, received no more than 50% of the total sample.

Although consumers expressed having good intentions by not supporting unethical brands, their willingness to take further action remains low. Only about 46% mentioned they would be willing to pay more for sustainable food production and 53% would be willing to journey further away to get them. This means that there is a need to create a sense of urgency to drive people to action. It seems that the main barriers to consumer action lie in the influence of advertisement and communication from non-SCP manufacturers (82%) and expensive prices (80%).

Bearing in mind that the 2021 SCP survey was taken during the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand, we found that many people have had to sacrifice certain aspects of their lives, especially when it comes to consumption. Consequently, the motivation to “take sustainable practices now” was lacking and so the willingness level is not as high (only 61%) compared to 95% in 2018.

Next steps
Based on these results, ‘WHY values’ should be conveyed through Micro and Nano influencers who are closer to consumers and whom consumers listen to and believe in more than brands, and continued engagement with local, small and medium-size businesses who are also closely connected with consumers is also recommended.