1 February 2019

Is Sustainability the Next Big Retail Trend?

Victoria Halsall

Red Tiger Consulting


Recently at Red Tiger Consulting we have been looking into retail trends for the year ahead, as many businesses in the retail sector have. Whilst a lot has been said about embracing the emergence of new technologies, engaging and experiential shopping and multi-channel retail; the universal prediction is that sustainability is going to be a big focus for this year.

Corporate responsibility and Sustainability

Consumers are shopping more with their emotions than ever before. It is not just the product that is under scrutiny now, it is how the company presents and positions its brand with regards to social consciousness and corporate responsibility. Issues like global warming, food waste and plastic pollution are big headlines currently.

74 % of UK shoppers say they have become more aware of the impact of plastic wrapping on the environment and want to reduce their contribution. This has led to shops introducing plastic free isles and biodegradable wrapping for their products. In the UK, since the tax on single use plastic bags was introduced, the use of plastic bag has decreased by 86%. Many food and beverage retailers have introduced free water bottle refills and discounts for customers with re-usable cups.

Guilt free shopping

But this may not be enough. Consumers want to feel not just that they are reducing waste, but that their actions are making a positive impact on environmental issues. They want to be able to shop guilt free and be seen to support retailers with strong sustainability values.  Cue retailers having to go the extra mile to show that they are packing, selling and delivering products that are ethically sourced, sustainable and not harmful to the environment.

OmNom sustainable food shop in southport - sustainability in retail

This week I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that within the humble town of Southport, where 50% of Red Tiger Consulting live, a new zero waste shop has opened. OmNom sells organic whole foods, herbs, spices oils, loose leaf tea, coffee and even organic skincare products. Basically, almost everything you could want (apart from wine and beer but I might make a suggestion to them on that point!). And it is all zero waste, bulk supply. Just bring in your clean containers, fill them up and weigh and pay. Simples – as the slightly annoying adverts involving meercats say. Now this is what consumers are looking for – somewhere they can go crazy and buy all sorts of stuff whilst knowing they are not actively contributing to the pictures of adorable sea creatures wrapped in horrible bits of plastic.

Social conscience

There are probably a lot of these types of shops popping up in cities around the UK but it is good to see one in Southport, where charity shops, pound shops and betting shops make up the majority of the retail outlets. Perhaps the social consciousness of consumers will save bricks and mortar, after all its very difficult to deliver goods with zero waste.

If you want to find out more about OmNom then take a look at them on Facebook

Image credit: Negative Space

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Published by Victoria Halsall

Former Marketing Manager for Red Tiger Talent, now a full time secondary school teacher.


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