Ethically conscious shopping exploded in 2018. More than a passing trend, it has become a movement that shows no signs of stopping! From the war on plastic to an awareness of the environmental impact of the food industry, consumers are actively seeking choices that help them live a more sustainable lifestyle. Holla 🙌!

There’s never been a better time for businesses who want to do good, so join us as we take a look at potential movers and shakers for 2019.

The rise of plant-based living

2019 started with a bang when high-street bakery Greggs launched a vegan sausage roll and sent social media into a frenzy! Consumers’ appetite for healthier and more sustainable food choices is clearly becoming mainstream. The number of people participating in Veganuary each year keeps growing, and the main reasons people list for getting involved is their concern about the impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment.

This is having a huge impact on retailers as they try to meet their customers’ demands for more plant-based options. Sales of dairy-free milk increased by 20% in 2018, and teabag brand PG Tips have even developed a new blend that allows dairy-free tea lovers to enjoy the perfect cuppa!

2019 looks set to be the year that plant-based food choices become an increasingly more common sight in supermarkets, so watch this space!

Iceland show the realities of the palm oil industry

Iceland pledged to completely remove ALL palm oil from their own-brand products by the end of 2018 and encouraged people to avoid buying any products containing the product. Their heart-wrenching Christmas advert (and former Greenpeace ad) exposed the destruction that the palm oil industry has on the habitats of endangered orangutans, and although it was banned from TV, it blew up the internet and the message went viral.

Given that palm oil is found in more than half of all supermarket products, from bread to toiletries, customers demand for change could have a huge impact.

Will 2019 see other retailers make similar pledges?

The war on plastic

Supermarkets are estimated to create around 800,000 tonnes of plastic each year, and one third of it is not easily recyclable. For anyone wanting to limit their use of single-use plastic, this is clearly frustrating! Public demand combined with pressure from the government and environmentalists has resulted in nearly all UK supermarkets signing up to the UK Plastics Pact in April 2018.

Other companies are also doing their bit to be more sustainable. One of the nation’s favourite snack producers, Walkers Crisps, has recently launched a new initiative to recycle all crisp packets as well as develop new recyclable packaging. Crisp-lovers simply have to leave their empty packets (of any brand) at designated collections points, where they will be cleaned and recycled.

Innovation is coming from all parts of the market, from big brands to start-ups. A runaway success for 2018 that shows no signs of slowing is the popularity of beeswax wraps – a safe and natural alternative to plastic packaging. Biodegradable, compostable and reusable, each beeswax wrap can last for up to one year. Not only do they help reduce the amount of single-use plastic, they also help cut down on food wastage by keeping foods fresher. A win-win for any conscious consumer wanting to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill!

Other trends set to grow in 2019 are the use of bamboo toothbrush subscription boxes, non-plastic straws and reusable household items such as kitchen roll, wipes and even nappies!

We can expect to see more innovative solutions to reduce single-use plastic in the coming years, music to our ears!

‘Single-use’ wins ‘Word of the Year’

The Collins English Dictionary ‘Word of the Year’ is an excellent marker for understanding widespread cultural trends. With the 2018 title going to ‘single-use’, it’s clear just how much awareness there is about the terrible effects that our consuming habits are having on our planet. 

We’d love to know, what are your predictions for the 2019 title? Will it stay within the ethical shopping arena? Or will it be something completely different? Either way, we love how people are caring how and where they spend their money and we can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!