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The climate impact of food is important to Europeans. Three out of five consumers consider climate impact when buying food according to a new survey by Yara.

Yara International announced the findings in a new European survey on sustainable food conducted by leading international market research company IPSOS on behalf of Yara. The report provides an overview of consumer purchasing habits and sustainable food preferences.

“The report shows that Europeans are highly motivated to buy sustainable food to reduce their climate impact. This should be a wake-up call to the entire food industry,” says Birgitte Holter, VP of Green Fertilisers at Yara. “While three out of five Europeans find the climate impact important when buying food, a majority feel it is not easy enough to understand available information about the climate emission to be able to make sustainable choices. More than three out of four consumers would prefer to be able to read the carbon footprint on the food item,” Holter says.

The world’s food production accounts for more than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. This new report shows that 58 % of Europeans consider the climate impact important when buying food and beverages. In addition, 51 % of Europeans are willing to pay more for fossil free food items, meaning food produced without fossil sources. However, most people feel that it is not easy to know which food is climate friendly, as 76 % of Europeans would like the carbon footprint to be visible on the food label.

“Decarbonisation of food is possible and that is why we are developing green fertilisers made from water and air using renewable energy, to support farmers and food companies in reducing their climate impact of their food. These voluntary choices must be supported by adequate policies. The EU’s Sustainable Food System initiative, planned for the end of 2023, should therefore create a set of incentives for food systems’ actors to go beyond the minimum requirements and favor low-carbon footprint solutions such as green fertilisers,” says Holter.

In Porsgrunn, Norway, Yara is building the first production plant to run on renewable energy. From here, Yara will produce green fertilisers made without the use of fossil energy or fossil sources. This will result in crops with an up to 30 % lower carbon footprint and up to 20 % carbon footprint reduction in the food produced, making them a powerful solution to grow a decarbonised and fossil free food future. The first green fertilisers are planned to enter production in the second half of 2023.

The market demand for food made without fossil energy sources is high. More than half of Europeans (51 %) said they are willing to pay more for climate friendly food. A clear majority of Europeans (74 %) say food companies need to work to reduce the emissions from their food production.

Key findings in this survey:

  • 58 % of Europeans consider the climate impact important when buying food and beverage items
  • 69 % of Europeans would choose a climate friendlier food item versus a cheaper option. (26 % would choose a fossil free food item, 43 % would choose a low-carbon item)
  • 51 % of Europeans say they are willing to pay more for food made without fossil fuel sources
  • 31 % of Europeans already make sustainable choices when it comes to their buying habits
  • More than three out of four (76 %) Europeans want to see the carbon footprint of food items on the label
  • Nearly three out of four Europeans (74 %) believe food companies should work to reduce emissions in their food production

About the survey
The survey on the need for sustainable food was commissioned by Yara International and conducted by IPSOS. The panel consisted of 12,000 consumer respondents in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Poland, Romania, Turkey, Norway, Sweden and Denmark (1,000 respondents in each country). The data was collected from online interviews during the period of December 1 – 14, 2022.