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Gaining an advantage through improved ethical perceptions

Published under consumer trends , ethics
Written by Tobin Sparrow

Two things are important to me above most others – a sustainable future for my children, and coffee.

With successful schemes to reduce plastic waste in retail sectors; including Morrisons announcing a return to paper bags, casual dining outlets are increasingly looking to gain a competitive advantage amongst ethically conscious consumers – plastic straws being top of the recent cull list.

Most of our beloved coffee chains promote incentives to use your own cup, and schemes to recycle takeaway cups that are returned in an effort to reduce waste.  However, despite increasing pressure they are notoriously coy about the extent of their waste, with takeaway cups being difficult to recycle, and also keep track of once off the premises.  This brings me to a recent experience which lead me to question more generally whether these polices are lived and breathed at all levels, or if it is simply just marketing.  I took my reusable coffee cup in on two occasions to a local coffee shop, and both times (served by two different baristas), the coffee was made in a disposable cup before being poured into my reusable cup, and the disposable cup thrown away!  My guilt-free morning latte was significantly less enjoyable as a result, and I have gone elsewhere for my daily fix since.

Whilst most businesses see the appeal of a more sustainable outlook, we can’t underestimate how important this is to consumers, and especially for our influential (and sometimes elusive) Generation Z’s who are driving the shift to more ethical practices and buying patterns.  Many start-ups and smaller casual dining chains began with ethical practices at their core, and they are all fighting for custom from the established players in an evolving high street now focussed more than ever on offering an experience beyond a simply transactional one.

Surely it’s time the effective delivery of the ‘green message’ formed an integral part of the casual dining experience, to maintain and grow market share against the new players and also ensure we live up to our responsibilities.

I’d love to chat in more detail about this, so please get in touch if you’d like to explore exactly how important green policies are to your customers, what they think of your policies, how they are being delivered, or where you should focus for maximum advantage over competitors (whilst saving the world at the same time!).

Call: 02380 460928

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