Why are brands moving towards sustainability?

Hannah Gallop

Hannah Gallop


Food manufacturer, Meridian Foods, recently revealed its new brand identity that took inspiration from the "simple beauty of the natural world". The result is an iconic, standout design that inturn strengthens its sustainability mission.

With an ever-growing sense of environmental and social responsibility, consumers want to invest in products and brands that align with their personal values. A good product alone is no longer enough to win a consumer's loyalty. We now desire more than just quality, which could ultimately cost the brands that don't keep up with the needs and wants of their audience.

Meridian's new brand identity is as sweet as a nut

Meridian's new look was created by independent strategic brand design agency, Bulletproof - who also undertook Cadbury's first design overhaul in over 50 years.

Bulletproof reinvigorated Meridian's packaging in line with the manufacturer’s values and re-imagining its visual identity to appeal to a wider audience, including those that shop in health food stores and larger supermarket chains where Meridian's products are stocked.

Best known for their range of peanut and speciality nut butters, Meridian's core product values set them above their competition. Meridian has committed to never use palm oil (a major driver of deforestation), to ship rather than fly their products to reduce air miles and to engage in as little ‘process’ as possible to promote the benefits of plant-based diets, over processed foods.

The new look seeks to emphasise the brand’s “positive ethical stance” on all of these issues that consumers are becoming increasingly concerned by. 

Sustainability is driving purchase decisions

While value and ease of purchase are still the main factors behind purchasing decisions, sustainability is becoming a bigger factor. Consumers want purchases to mean something and they want to feel good while doing it.

Consumers - particularly Millennials - are increasingly looking at brands that embrace purpose and sustainability, and are more attuned to the environmental impact of their purchases. The movement towards more considered and sustainable brands has hiked over the last few years in correlation with the public's awareness of environmental issues and therefore their shift in priorities and values.

A survey produced by Hotwire in 2019 found that 47% of internet users worldwide had stopped consuming products and services from a brand that opposed their personal values. Protecting the environment topped the list of why people switched a product/service. 

As consumers become more conscious of the ethical and environmental impact of goods and services, many are making conscious decisions to ensure their money is invested in cleaner organisations that value and prioritise sustainability - like Meridian.

Dr. Matt Johnson, a professor at Hult International Business School, says: "There is accumulating evidence that consumers are impacted by the perceived sustainability of [a] brand, and further, that consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from a sustainable brand over a non-sustainable competitor brand." 

The growing demand for eco-friendly packaging solutions

One of the growing needs for consumers is environmentally friendly packaging that they are able to recycle correctly and easily. 

Following the surge of plastic production, anxiety about waste started to increase due to the packaging industry having the biggest impact on the environment. Awareness of the environmental impacts that single-use plastic and non-recyclable materials hold has continued to grow.

In 2015, we saw the introduction of the plastic bag charge which encourages shoppers to reuse bags instead of using ‘single-use carrier bags’ every time they went shopping. This encouraged a change in consumer behaviour and increased support for other charges to reduce waste.   

This shift has encouraged many companies to proactively make bold commitments to improve both the sustainability of their packaging and to fundamentally rethink their packaging systems.

One company who is striving to make a positive change is Evian, who announced earlier this year that they had achieved global certification for becoming carbon neutral; marking a key milestone in the brand's bold sustainability ambitions. This has been achieved after years of reductions made at every single stage of the product cycle, from conception to production and finally to recycling.

The mineral water brand also announced in 2018 that it is aiming to become 100% circular by 2025, meaning that all bottles will be made from recycled plastics which can be recycled again. As a result of this, no virgin plastics will be added to the market.

Evian isn't the only brand committed to evolving their systems to take control of their environmental impact to produce zero plastic waste. Other brands stepping up to the challenge include Ikea, who have designed a sustainability strategy that outlines a clear vision to create a better everyday life for the many.

For many products, the consumer experience begins with the packaging -  the first opportunity to highlight the product’s sustainability. To help brands become more sustainable, companies like Visican offer high-quality packaging that is manufactured from card and paper and therefore 100% plastic-free and 100% recyclable. Check out our work with Visican.

Why it pays to be sustainable

It’s pretty simple: why would we support a brand financially if we don't agree with their social and environmental values?

As many consumers' priorities change to reflect the growing importance of environmental and social issues, their loyalties will move if their current trusted brands don't make the right, positive changes.

Consumers will choose Meridian, not only for their nut butters, but for their brand values and commitment to sustainability and positive change.

If users are focussing on sustainable alternatives, brands must move to adhere to customer needs and change their process and outlook. Being an environmentally conscious brand is crucial, not only to improve the environment but also to adhere to changing consumer behaviour regarding sustainability and shopping habits.

Are your brand values being heard?

If you need help to communicate your brand values and want to highlight the work you’re doing, Barques is here to help.

Whether your website has grown dated, your marketing needs updating to realign with your goals or you want to shout out about the work you’re doing, get in touch with Barques to learn more.

Need help to communicate your brand values?

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