Environmental sustainability and governance (ESG) remains an important influencer of consumers’ foodservice purchasing choices. The boom of food delivery services, catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic, clashes with consumers’ desires for sustainable packaging formats and cutlery. Companies will have to address these issues to achieve future competitiveness.

Listed below are the key macroeconomic trends impacting ESG performance, as identified by GlobalData.

Ethical consumerism

Over the last decade, consumers have developed heightened awareness and concern for the scale, complexity, and interdependence of global social and environmental challenges, making it difficult for foodservice companies to ignore environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.

For instance, consumers are now attentive to all aspects of the production process, from the sustainable and ethical sourcing of raw ingredients to the carbon footprint associated with the processes and the environmental credentials of the packaging. As a result, their purchasing decisions are significantly driven by companies’ ethical and environmental practices.

Gig economy

The gig economy is characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work instead of permanent jobs. Proponents point to the flexibility it offers in terms of working hours, but critics highlight the low wages and lack of basic employment rights offered to long-term employees.

Governments are increasingly clamping down on abusers of the gig economy by clarifying definitions of employment status and classifying self-employed gig economy workers as employees with standard employment rights.

Generation Hashtag

Generation hashtag makes up one-quarter of the world’s population, and its influence will only increase over the next decade as its members continue to enter the workforce. As a generation coming of age during recessions, fractured politics, and exposure to ‘fake news’, they will rigorously hold brands accountable for ESG actions.

Tokenistic efforts to display social and environmental responsibility will no longer suffice, as consumers will choose brands that wholeheartedly demonstrate corporate social responsibility (CSR).

This is an edited extract from the ESG – Top Trends by Sector – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.