GfK: Manufacturers need a holistic sustainability strategy!

27-Feb-2020 - Mainz - Company-News

Approximately 70 percent of Germans want to lead a sustainable lifestyle that starts with their buying behavior. Manufacturers in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry have to follow a coherent sustainability strategy and actively communicate their approach in order to remain competitive in the medium term. That was the conclusion of the study "Nachhaltigkeit 2020" conducted by the market research institute GfK (Growth from Knowledge), which will be presented during the 39th "Unternehmergespräch Kronberg."

The subject "Shoppers and brands in disruptive times – when social responsibility meets economic uncertainty" will be the focus of this year's GfK Kronberg discussions. The study concludes that even in economically challenging times, social, health and ecological requirements remain high. According to GfK, branded products that offer no social-ecological added value will suffer in this market situation.

Customer increase particularly in eco segment of detergents and cleaning products

Eco products in the detergents and cleaning products industry benefited in the past year from consumers' growing awareness of sustainability and health issues. For the second year in a row the Frosch brand from the cleaning products manufacturer Werner & Mertz of Mainz was held up as a positive example. Between November 2017 and November 2019 Frosch laundry detergent recorded a 55.6 percent sales increase, making it what the GfK calls "a successful, social innovation of an established Champion Brand." Still another insight from GfK: Innovative brands are distinguished by their position on the mass market side of the ecological niche. Family-owned and managed companies like Werner & Mertz scored points here.

"Successful owner-managed companies recognized early the socio-ecological challenges such as CO2 reduction, plastic waste prevention and/or animal welfare and quickly developed solutions. They focus on people and their environment in everything they do. That conveys the brand's sense of responsibility, which consumers acknowledge and reward," said Dr. Robert Kecskes, Global Insights Director at GfK.

Some examples of successful social innovations from established Champion Brands / Copyright Graphic: GfK 2020

Innovative brands are on the mass market side of the niche market / Copyright Graphic: GfK 2020

"Our business growth in past years is proof that it is possible to take ecological products from the niche market and make them accessible to the general population. Consumers purchase an integrally sustainable product that also has great cleaning power," says Werner & Mertz owner and Environmental Award winner Reinhard Schneider.

Sustainable packaging with plastic reduction is a major issue

The GfK analysis shows that consumers focus on specific aspects involving sustainability. Because plastic waste is perceived as a serious environmental problem, insisting on sustainable packaging and plastic reduction is a good way for consumers to exercise their influence. They, in turn, respond positively to concepts that address their concerns. The market research institute advises manufacturers to take up sustainability issues and act on them instead of just reacting.

The Number 1 topic – plastic – threatens human health, quality of life and the environment / Copyright Graphic: GfK 2020

The latest innovation from Werner & Mertz fulfills precisely those needs. Since November 2019 the company has offered consumers the first packaging in the FMCG segement that serves the three goals of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. The patented stand-up pouch, which was developed jointly with the packaging and paper manufacturer Mondi, consists of a monomaterial. The pouch can be recycled completely, so the plastic remains in a closed loop (recycle). Compared to other bottles, the pouch saves up to 70 percent packaging material for the same product volume (reduce). Finally, thanks to the refill package, the original bottle can be filled again and again – like your own small refilling station at home (reuse). For this innovation Werner & Mertz received the German Packaging Award 2019 in the Sustainability category.

Copyright Graphics: GfK 2020

Unternehmersgespräch Kronberg:
At the beginning of each year Europe's largest market research firm invites top managers from manufacturers of food, household and personal care products to meet with GfK experts to assess the previous year, examine developing market trends and identify emerging business opportunities.

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Werner & Mertz GmbH
Corporate Communication
Birgitta Schenz
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55120 Mainz
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