Study: 43% of customers will pay more for a sustainable take-out restaurant


Diving Brief:

  • According to Deliverect research emailed to Restaurant Dive, 43% of customers are willing to pay more for restaurant takeout that prioritizes sustainability efforts. Fifty-six percent of the guests want restaurants to be more transparent about their green efforts.
  • Although the majority of consumers (65%) think sustainable food costs more, 47% would consider changing what they order on the menu to be more sustainable, according to the study.
  • Guests are particularly concerned about food waste and packaging. Seventy-three percent of consumers want precise portion sizes to avoid waste, while 68% believe restaurants should have processes in place to avoid waste, according to Deliverect. Most consumers (54%) prefer to order from restaurants that don’t use excess packaging for delivery, while 56% would prefer a restaurant that uses eco-friendly packaging.

Overview of the dive:

Consumer concerns about sustainability have been growing for some time. This interest has been impacted by the sustainability initiatives touted by major restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, which have committed to a host of sustainability goals in recent years.

However, consumers’ desire to make sustainable choices has accelerated since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the inner workings of the food production system and the role of climate change in disease transmission have come to light. highlighted. According to Ipsos, 65% of global consumers think climate change should be a priority in the wake of the pandemic.

Deliverect’s research reflects this growing trend, as it shows that consumers not only want to support businesses that prioritize sustainable practices, but are also willing to pay more for it. A recent study by Simon-Kucher & Partners shows that young consumers are more actively directing their purchasing behavior towards sustainable businesses, and that across demographics, 60% of global consumers consider sustainability to be a major purchase.

Consumers are actively searching for more sustainable restaurants, as evidenced by Yelp data that shows searches for “plant-based concepts” jumped 56% between 2018 and 2021. Searches for “electric vehicle charging” have increased an average of 41% each year. Demand has led Yelp to add new search tools for eco-friendly restaurants.

Restaurant chains are responding to this shift in consumer mindset by making their in-store offerings more environmentally friendly. Starbucks, for example, is considering phasing out its disposable cups, while Tim Hortons has also relaunched a reusable cup program. Other chains, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A, have begun phasing out added PFAS in their packaging, a substance that does not break down in the environment, while Taco Bell is working on more recyclable packaging. .

Chipotle recently launched a trial that monitors RFID tags to improve its supply chain visibility and potentially reduce waste. In particular, fWaste reduction efforts are not only a way to win over increasingly environmentally conscious consumers, but can also help operators as food prices near 40-year highs.

The major chains’ sustainability commitments go beyond commitments to packaging and food waste to also improve energy consumption. Yum Brands, for example, has pledged to move more than 1,000 restaurants to renewable energy by the end of 2021. Panera is now revealing how carbon-intensive each menu item is, and CEO Niren Chaudhary told The New York Times that almost 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from food, adding “we are a big part of the problem…so we have to do something.”


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