Moral brand trends driving change in product manufacturing

There is no doubt that demand for ethical brands is rapidly increasing as consumers are becoming more aware of the values and principles that stand behind a business.

Customers are increasingly likely to buy from a brand that aligns with their values. A recent global study by BBMG and GlobeScan revealed that for the first time since 2009, more consumers say they have punished companies for their behaviour (28%) than have rewarded them (26%).

According to Nielsen, a global measurement and data analytics company, over 50% of respondents say they are influenced by key sustainability factors, when purchasing a product. 69% of customers are willing to pay more for fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients, and 58% would buy products from an environmentally friendly company, or  a company being known for its commitment to social value (56%). 41% of respondents say they are influenced by the environmentally friendly package of a product.

As a result, many companies are shifting towards certified sourcing programmes to achieve their sustainability goals. Several large companies, including Ferrero, Danone, Kelloggs, Kraft Heinz and Mars, are sourcing 100% certified commodities already. Others, like Mondelez and Uniliver have made promises for the future.

Last year Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, announced three forward-looking trends which will lead the momentum of global food and drink innovation in 2019 and beyond.

Jenny Zegler, Associate Director of Mintel, believes issues of sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience can inspire formulation, packaging, marketing and more in the future.

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Evergreen Consumption is one of the trends that is expected to grow in 2019. Sustainability that spans the entire product lifecycle requires action from suppliers to consumers. The movement to reduce food waste showcases that governments, companies, and consumers can come together to be more sustainable.

Global attention on plastic waste, for example, is creating momentum towards a broader understanding of sustainability. Consumers are becoming more aware of the damage of plastic waste to the environment. Governments, manufacturers and councils have promised to improve recycling, reuse or composting of food and drink packaging in the future. As we saw in Mintel’s 2017 Global Food and Drink Trend ‘Waste Not’ the huge amount of food that is lost or wasted globally needs to be reduced. In 2018, Tesco, the British supermarket chain, became the exclusive retailer for a range of fruit juices called Waste NOT, which were made from fruit and vegetables that didn’t fit the specifications to be sold as fresh produce, or otherwise known as ‘ugly’ produce.


Through the Ages will be another innovative trend towards sustainability in the future. The Food and drink industry will start to look into more solutions for wellness and healthy ageing.

Formulations will be developed, so people can consume vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients, beneficial the health. Food and drink manufacturers can draw on emerging research into nutrition and longevity as well as traditional medicine practices, like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. For example, the Italian brand Geovita uses goji berries and paprika in their Nutrition Good Life Mix grain mix, because of their anti-ageing benefits and in 2018, The US company Fairlife relaunched its 2% Reduced Fat Ultra-Filtered Milk with DHA Omega-3.

Elevated Convenience is the third trend that we can see in the future, according to Mintel. A new generation of modern convenience food and drink will emerge as a result of the consumers’ demand for more natural, nutritious, or customisable products ‘on the go’ that can help them keep pace with busy schedules and still maintain their health goals. This could prevent people from relying on fast food services and opting for healthier products like grab-and-go breakfasts, quick snacks, and dinner-time solutions instead. Premium, fresh, and healthy convenience food and drink are essential now that the expectations of food quality, flavours, and formats are higher. This creates an opening for more premium convenience packaged healthy food that leads the way for enhanced expectations. For example, Amazon Go stores offer a stock of premium snacks, drinks, and other packaged food, as well as freshly prepared food and meal kits. These online stores easily become main competitors to the high-end food suppliers surrounding their urban locations.

Whole Foods, the American supermarket chain, also released a list of predictions for innovative food trends in the 2019 in their annual announcement. Pacific Rim flavors, eco-conscious packaging, faux meat snacks and new varieties of hemp-infused products are among the food influences expected to gain popularity in the next year. The retailer’s report is based on more than 100 years of combined experience in product sourcing, studying consumer preferences and participating in food and wellness industry exhibitions worldwide.

One of the main trends, expected to set off, is Eco-Conscious Packaging. Many environment-friendly companies are making commitments to ban straws, while brands like Whole Foods Market are setting up regional pilots to test recyclable strawless, sipper lids made from PET, without increasing the plastic content of a lid/straw combination. The emphasis is on reusing- many produce departments are going “BYOVB” (bring your own vegetable bag). Single-use packages are going multi-use, for example food wraps made from beeswax or silicone alternatives. This is not only a trend, but a necessity in today’s world. Consumers are expecting even more from the brands and businesses they choose to support.

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Moral Brands are also part of the trend with more and more businesses supporting a cause as part of their business model. Amongst the many eco-friendly conscious businesses is Bloomtown– UK’s 1st independently certified palm oil-free company.

Founded in 2016, Bloomtown “ticks all the boxes” for brand with a higher purpose. The body & skincare company offers consumers ethical & cruelty-free alternatives. Their multi-award-winning products are expertly formulated and hand-crafted in their workshop in Cornwall. They are 100% Certified Vegan & Cruelty-Free and do not contain sulphates, parabens, PEGs, petrochemicals, phthalates, TEA/MEA/DEA, synthetic colours or SLS. Their products are also free of palm oil. Bloomtown also use recycled materials wherever possible and biodegradable packaging peanuts and bubble wrap to reduce plastic waste. Their materials and packaging come from companies with a fair trade policy.

Bloomtown is also passionate about making a difference and giving back- they donate 10% of their profits to environmental & social causes.

For more information about Bloomtown, please visit:

Another example of a brand with an ethos is ‘Who gives a crap’. This newly-developed business aims to produce toilet paper, without cutting virgin trees and harming the environment.

The founders- Simon, Jehan and Danny started ‘Who Gives A Crap’ with a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in 2012, after learning that roughly 40% of the world don’t have access to a toilet. By conducting a funny experiment, which included one of the creators- Simon, sitting on a toilet for 50 hours, or until enough pre-orders were raised to start production, they managed to raise over $50,000 and they delivered their first product in 2013. The company donates 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world and have donated over £1,000,000 to organisations like WaterAid Australia, Sanergy, Shining Hope For Communities and Lwala Community so far.

All of the materials used in the toilet paper rolls, including bamboo, are recycled, eco-friendly and kind to nature., because ‘Who gives a crap’ believe that trees are for hugging and not wiping.

For more info, please visit:

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We can see that not only brands, but also big supermarket chains are taking a step towards ethical consumption, as a result of people’s demand.

 Last year Iceland, the British Supermarket, promised to become the first major UK retailer to stop using palm oil in its products by the end of 2019. They claimed to have found a replacement for about half of their products that contain palm oil.

Iceland’s 2018 Christmas advert had a powerful message about deforestation. The animation, made by environmental organisation Greenpeace, told the sad story of Rang-Tan, whose home was destroyed by palm oil producers. The ad was banned from television as soon as it came out, for having breached the “political rules” of the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice (BCAP).

Iceland’s environmental policy also includes the reduction of carbon emissions and energy consumption costs.

Their campaign and stance as a supermarket has seen an increase in sales and consumer support.

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Choose Cruelty Free, for example, has been helping Australian consumers make conscious choices since 1993, by producing a ‘Choose Cruelty Free List’ (CCF List). The independent non-profit organisation advocates for the rights of animals who “live with us, not for us”.  They actively campaign for an end to animal testing of cosmetics. They also survey cruelty-free companies selling cosmetics, toiletries and household cleaning products and encourage manufacturers to adopt a cruelty-free ethic. They accredit companies which satisfy their criteria with the ‘Not Tested on Animals Rabbit’ logo. The CCF List provides consumers with information so they can choose products according to their personal ethical standards.

For more information, please visit:

From small independent brands to large supermarket chains, businesses are making a step towards sustainability and ethical consumption. Demands for innovation and moral business models from consumers are pushing the industry closer to a better tomorrow.

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