Retail: NIQ ‘Green Divide’ Report Investigates Evolving Sustainability Landscape for Brands, Shoppers

According to data from a new report – the “Green Divide” from NIQ – sustainability is more important to consumers than it was two years ago, but there's still a gap between intent and action from both consumers and companies.

The NIQ report uncovers the evolving sustainability landscape for both brands and shoppers and looks at what is driving conscious consumption today.

Sherry Frey, vice president of total wellness at NIQ, told World Tea News: “Consumers say that sustainability is important to them but is it important enough to affect their shopping habits? One interesting finding from the report, and hence the name ‘Green Divide,’ is that there is a divide between what consumers report when it comes to sustainability and the actions they take with their wallets…”

Notably, the report reveals:

  • Sustainability is increasingly important for the majority of consumers, but it still isn’t the most important factor when choosing a brand.
    • 70 percent of consumers say sustainability is more important to them than it was two years ago, yet when asked about the most important thing when choosing a brand 18.1 percent said affordable/lower prices were the most important thing compared to 11.2 percent who noted sustainability. 
  • This division between action and intent has brought brands/consumers to the “Green Divide.”  
    • Most consumers are trying to live sustainability. A total of 47 percent say they are very likely to choose a brand with health benefits for me and the planet; 36 percent say they are every likely to buy sustainable offerings for all products if available. 
    • But consumers are burdened by cost and lack of choice. A total of 41 percent of consumers said sustainable options are too expensive, and 35 percent cited limited sustainable product availability and choice as their biggest barrier.
  • While retailers are held less responsible than brands, both play an essential role in driving the conscious consumption movement and must evolve to meet growing consumer expectations.
    • A total of 77 percent of consumers are likely to stop purchasing a brand if found guilty of greenwashing. And 45 percent of consumers are likely to purchase brands that have easily verified labels. Consumers are very likely to choose brands who offer sustainable products at comparable prices to other products (46 percent).
    • A total of 45 percent of consumers say that reduced plastic packaging by retailers would help them be more sustainable, and 40 percent say an increased range of cheaper sustainable options would help them be sustainable.
    • Consumers state they are very likely to choose retailers who give rewards/incentives for recycling, reducing food waste (44 percent), and 39 percent say they are very likely to choose retailers who offer a wide assortment of sustainable products. 
Sustainability Brands Retailers Data Report Trend Consumer Goods Tea
(Photo by: Wombatzaa / )

How Should Tea Retailers and Tea Brands Respond?

According to Frey, the survey results are important because they demonstrate that while consumers are interested in living sustainably, they are constrained by budgets and limited choices. “Brands within the tea industry and across the store can connect with consumers and win market share by providing affordable sustainable items and a wider selection of products,” she said.

Frey explained that brands who adopt sustainable practices and strategies have an enormous opportunity to win a growing consumer segment – but it’s important to focus on authenticity and avoid being guilty of greenwashing. “Consumers are holding brands accountable and expect actions instead of promises.”

To download the “Green Divide” report from NIQ – “How to turn green consumer intentions into sustainable actions – click here. To learn more about NIQ, visit

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