Family Margins Becoming Mainstream

Only 4 or 5 years ago plastic and packaging were not at the forefront of the majority of families shopping concerns. It was in the mix and when we spoke to brands many said that ‘it always comes up but it’s a nice to have but not a deal breaker’.

Eco friendly packaging research

However, we started to hear more discontent from families, first about straws or excessive packaging and some ‘everyday families’ started to change their purchase choices based on their families concerns (their kids were recycling champions). This was before Blue Planet but still many brands resisted until the floodgates opened.

Just last week we asked our Family Panel base of 45,000 what brands and supermarkets could do to help their family and the top response, with over half, was about minimising and recycling packaging – this was over convenience and price.

‘Reduce packaging, use compostable packaging or offer reusable packaging that I could hand back.’

So what other areas are coming out of the margins and into the mainstream of families concerns that we need to start to take to stronger notice of:

1. Sustainable materials and ingredients

A great example is the Iceland advert highlighting the destruction of forest and habitat for Orang-utans for palm oil, it has struck a chord with families. Again we’ve heard this discontent rising over the last two years and know of families making a conscious effort to only buy based on sustainable ingredients. Some have said they have gone vegan (5% of family members went vegan this year) due to dual health and environmental concerns. And it’s not just food but materials for products, such as household items and clothes that they want to be sustainable.

2. Allergens and ‘Free From’

This is growing and not just gluten or dairy free exclusively – people are not necessarily wanting to have to go to the’ free from aisle’ but want products to be fully labeled showing allergens, what it’s free from or low in clearly on everyday products.

‘Allergen information needs to be even easier to find as so many ‘normal’ things are dairy free without having to actually go and buy from the ‘ free from’ section but it takes ages to find them.’

3. Back to basics

More than 4 out of 10 families have in the last year cooked more from scratch and reaching for whole and real ingredients. We are also seeing more of a reaction against sweeteners as the way to reduce sugar. Plus, a growing trend is purchasing from companies such as Hello Fresh and Gousto (1 in 5 families have done so). Families want this duplicated by brands and supermarkets in greater variety.

‘Give me the option to add ‘ recipes’ to basket. Or suggest recipes that fit my basket of food and ingredients.’

If you’d like to know more about any of the family concerns above or about families wants and needs please just get in touch with me at