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  • Writer's pictureRayki Goh, MSc

Are shoppers willing to pay more for sustainable groceries?

Despite growing demand, the sustainability shift lags, hindered by retail resistance. Are shoppers ready to pay more for sustainable products or will they still lookout for their pockets first? How can technology and collaboration turn the tide?

Retailer stocking goods

Dear Food People,

I've got some thoughts on a topic that's getting a lot of attention lately, especially for us in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region: sustainability in retail, particularly in the consumer goods sector. You might have noticed that even though sustainability is becoming a big deal around here, we're not quite on the same page as some Western countries yet. The main hiccup? Retailers. Yep, the places we shop at play a huge role in this, and right now, they're not making it easy for us to grab those sustainable products off the shelves as part of our daily routine.

So, what's the big deal with retailers not stocking up on sustainable goods? Well, for starters, it's a missed opportunity for them to help us live more sustainably. There are a bunch of ways retailers could step up their game. Imagine if they used technology to cut down on environmental damage, switched to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power, swapped old lights for energy-efficient LEDs, cut back on waste all along the supply chain, and shipped goods in electric vehicles. And beyond just going green in their operations, they could do a lot more to support and promote products that are all about sustainability, making it easier for us to find and buy them.

However, these retailers are facing significant challenges as they transition towards sustainability. They're facing some real challenges, like the extra costs that come with green practices. We're talking about things beyond just the price tag, considering how the environmental impact of every aspect of their business can add up. Plus, even though many of us say we want to shop sustainably, our shopping carts often tell a different story, especially when money's tight. Retailers are also kind of stuck because they're at the tail end of the supply chain, which makes it tough to push for big changes. From a retailer's perspective, the challenge lies in discerning whether shoppers are truly willing to pay a premium for sustainable goods or if this expectation, assumed to be part of the trade, might eventually influence their shopping preferences?

Now, from a shopper’s perspective, there's the balancing act between being green and seeing more savings.

The reality of going sustainable often means higher material costs, which is tricky when you're trying to keep prices affordable for customers and maintain a profit. It's a bit of a paradoxical situation because sustainable products often cost more to make and sell, but not every shopper is willing to pay the premium. This puts retailers in a tough spot, trying to figure out how to support the environment without scaring off customers.

Retailers are getting creative with how they talk to us about their green efforts, too. They're boosting awareness about sustainability, showing off how they're cutting down on their environmental footprint, and being super clear about what they're doing and why. From using clean energy to spotlighting sustainable products with special labels or sections in stores, they're doing their best to make sure we know how they're helping the planet.

As shoppers, there are some smart questions we can ask ourselves to make sure we're making eco-friendly choices. We can guide our decisions by asking questions about the materials used in the products we buy, their packaging, the company's environmental policies, and whether they support sustainable causes. Making informed choices that align with our values is crucial. We should also ask ourselves: if there was a specific shelf for sustainable products that said, "Prices are 20% more for sustainable products", will our shopper instinct pay for sustainability over the cheaper option?

This is just scratching the surface, and I'd love to hear your thoughts or any additional topics you're curious about. Feel free to drop a message over at if you've got something to say or a question to ask. Let's keep the conversation going and make sustainability a part of our daily shopping habits together.



Further Reading:

  1. APAC Retailers Harnessing Technology for Eco-Friendly Transformation. (2024). APACCIOOUTLOOK. [online] Available at:

  2. More sustainability support needed from APAC retailers to match brand efforts – experts. (2024). FOODNAVIGATOR-ASIA. [online] Available at:

  3. The Great Sustainability Debate in APAC. (2024). KANTAR. [online] Available at:

  4. New Report: Sustainable Consumption in APAC. (2024). RAKUTEN INSIGHT GLOBAL. [online] Available at:


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