Webinar Recap: The Impact of Inflation on Consumer Desire for Sustainability

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EVP & Group Director, Anthropology

The recent Lux Research webinar “The Impact of Inflation on Consumer Desire for Sustainability” leveraged structural anthropology to decode the meaning behind sustainability and identify the underlying forms of symbolic capital (or social capital) that will actually motivate human behavior and drive purchase. Lux Research EVP and Group Director Ujwal Arkalgud used Lux MotivBase’s Iceberg Model of Meaning to outline the five fundamental ways in which you can drive effective results for sustainable alternatives in consumer packaged goods (CPG).

Sustainability is perhaps one of the most misunderstood topics in corporate innovation and brand management today. It is a topic that is certainly heavily intertwined with a false sense of the value of morality. And it often creates a massive say-do gap in research.

In today’s environment, it’s not an understatement to suggest that every organization in the world is trying to figure out how it can deliver sustainable alternatives to its existing product lines without severely affecting its margins. But every one of these companies will likely attest that achieving this result is far from easy.

So, where does the problem lie?

It lies in the fundamental fact that morality, at least when it comes to issues like the environment that don’t seem to affect us in our daily lives, isn’t an effective way to drive the purchase of sustainable alternatives.

Inflation has become an issue for the advancement of consumer demand for sustainable solutions and products. Consumers are looking for a reason not to make sustainable choices. Key issues in CPG include:

  • Accessibility Consumers don’t want to be constantly inconvenienced to solve day-to-day problems in their lives.
  • Trust Consumers just want to know what they’re choosing to compromise on.
  • Harm ReductionPeople just want to know that they’re not harming themselves or others.
  • Waste Consumers don’t want to take on the weight of the waste problem at home.

Without contextual meaning, we’re seeing only a small and inaccurate part of the narrative.

Given the inflationary environment, CPG companies have their work cut out in the coming year to build a desire for sustainable solutions. A revised approach is necessary for the current economic environment. CPG companies should:

  1. Make it easy for the consumer to reduce waste with a smart product and experience design.
  2. Show how sustainability goals can go hand in hand with harm-reduction goals.
  3. Create an open connection between sustainability and efficacy so people feel in control.
  4. Stay open to sustainable solutions amid inflationary and recessionary pressures.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Consider ingredients, processes, and business models that cut waste; use the product to take the stress off the consumer.
  2. Choose sustainable chemicals and materials that minimize harm to skin, health, home environment, and even animals.
  3. Focus on identifying sustainable solutions that have minimal impact on efficacy. Consider product design solutions to bridge gaps.

Join Lux EVP & Group Director Ujwal Arkalgud as he helps you answer the question “Why don’t people buy sustainable alternatives even when they say they want to?” Register today to watch the on-demand webinar “The Impact of Inflation on Consumer Desire for Sustainability“!

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