Consumption of sustainable food products : A study of the Sustainable purchase perception matrix and Sustainable lead consumers; A life cycle assessment of BäR smoothie

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper; Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Part 1 The scientific community has identified an attitude-action gap for demographic and psychographic variables when studying sustainable purchase behaviour. By focusing on what happens during the purchase instead of the purchaser, this cross-sectional study aims to understand sustainable purchase behaviour when consumers purchase sustainable food. The scope of this study focused on the consumer’s perceived degree of Confidence and Com- promise when purchasing sustainable food products as suggested by Peattie in the Green purchase perception matrix. However, since the study included environmental and social responsibility, we renamed the matrix to the Sustainable purchase perception matrix. The focus was also on a new construct created in this study called the Sustainable lead consumer. The degree of Confidence was measured through the consumer’s own belief in the ability to have a positive sustainability impact, i.e. Perceived consumer effectiveness (PCE) and the consumer’s domain-specific sustainability interests. The degree of Compromise was measured through the consumer’s Willingness to pay (WTP) for certain sustainability attributes. The data was collected through a questionnaire (N=436), and the result showed that the correlation between consumers’ WTP and PCE was weak, positive and significant within the sustainability interests Organic food, Animal welfare and Natural resources. As mentioned, Confidence and Compromise was examined through the variables PCE, sustainability interests and WTP. To reveal if the consumers experienced other variables within Confidence and Compromise a thematic analysis of consumers’ perceived scepticism towards sustainability marketing was conducted. The result identified 15 themes that could be associated with the variable Confidence and 17 themes that could be associated with the variable Compromise. By creating a new construct, the Sustainable lead consumer, the study identified a consumer who was considered ahead of the sustainability trend and benefited greatly from solutions in this trend. The correlation between WTP and domain-specific sustainability interests for Sustainable lead consumers was non-significant but strong (n=377). When comparingSustainable lead consumers’ WTP to the remaining population, the Wilcoxon rank-sum test showed no significant evidence that the Sustainable lead consumers had a higher WTP for their domain-specific sustainability interests. A potential attitude-action gap among the Sustainable lead consumers was examined by evaluating if a high degree of Confidence and Compromise led to actual sustainable purchase behaviour. The analysis showed that only a small proportion of Sustainable lead consumers with a high degree of PCE and WTP had an actual sustainable purchase behaviour. This was likely due to the existing attitude-action gap where the consumers’ attitude is not reflected in their actual behaviour. Part 2 Food production and consumption have a major impact on the environment, primarily from agriculture, but also from the processing of food, transportation and waste management. Increased environmental awareness among consumers has led to a demand for transparency in the food production chain and thus an increased demand for knowledge about food’s environmental impact. By studying the environmental impact of the product BäR smoothie from the Finnish company Toripiha, this study aims to identify environmental hotspots in the product’s production chain. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted in accordance with the ISO standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, to investigate the environmental impact of a bottle of BäR smoothie á 250 ml. The LCA was attributional, meaning that it aims to depict the product’s environmental impact over its life cycle. The environmental impact categories global warming, eutrophication and primary energy use were included, and measured with the impact category indicators carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-eq), phosphate equivalents (PO4-eq) and megajoule (MJ). Inventory data were collected mainly from the database Ecoinvent version 3.7, but also from scientific articles and previous studies, as well as the calculation tool NTMCalc Basic 4.0. The results of this study highlight the parts of the production chain of BÄR smoothie that have the most significant environmental impact concerning the chosen impact categories. A bottle of BäR smoothie á 250 ml contributed to a total of 120 g CO2-eq, 0.39 g PO4-eq and 2.8 MJ. The smoothie bottle, i.e. the production of the virgin bottle grade PET granulate (vPET) and recycled bottle grade PET granulate (rPET), had the largest impact on global warming and primary energy use of all the components, and also had a significant impact on eutrophication. As most of this contribution comes from the production of vPET granulate, Toripiha was advised to purchase bottles that have a higher content of rPET granulate to decrease the smoothie’s environmental impact. It was also evident that the transportation of components was a significant contributor to global warming, eutrophication and primary energy use. Since transportation had such an impact on the result, Toripiha needs to strive towards short and efficient transport of the different components to reduce the environmental impact from transportation.

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