The generation game: When it comes to sustainability, does age matter?

January 12, 2021

The results from our July Trust Transparency Center survey are in, and make fascinating reading – with clear differences in priorities regarding sustainability seen between different age groups.

In our July survey, Trust Transparency Center asked more than 2000 consumers in the UK and the USA about the importance of various aspects of sustainability when purchasing products.

We asked:

 “When choosing an eco-friendly product, what aspects of sustainability are most important to you.”

This blog is the second in a series analyzing how consumers perceive issues around sustainability ahead of our #NaturallyInformed two-day conference August 26/27  focused on driving value through sustainability in the supply chain.

Part One looked at some of the initial demographic breakdowns from our July survey. Today, we dig a little deeper into the same dataset, but focus specifically on how different age groups seemingly prioritize different issues in sustainability.

Packaging concerns outweigh eco cred …

Last time out, we learned that when we look at all of the data combined – for men and women of all ages in the UK and US – the primary concerns relating to aspects of sustainability relate to whether a product has sustainable packaging and whether it is reusable and long-lasting.

Rather surprisingly, aspects relating to carbon footprints, eco-labels on packaging, and a company’s record on sustainability issues (that the company is known to be eco-friendly) did not rank highly on the overall scales.

I used this as an opportunity to discuss how confusion over the high number of eco-labels, and mixed messages on the validity of measuring and offsetting carbon footprints make be creating consumer confusion – or at least so much noise that people are simply tuning it out.

But that doesn’t perhaps tell the whole story …

The generation game?

When we look at priorities split over age groups, we begin to see some interesting patterns.

While it’s clear that sustainable packaging is a high priority for all generations, there are some interesting trends that begin to pop out.

For instance, the relative importance of a product being reusable and long-lasting increases with age. When we look at the top concerns of each age range, this is the primary concern of those aged 55-64 and 65+, it ranks at number three for those aged 35-44 and 45-54 … but doesn’t make the top three for those aged 18-24.

More than 23% of  those over 55 ranked reusable and long-lasting as an important aspect, while just over 15% of 18-24 year olds did the same. It seems we begin to care more about the durability of products as we age.

sustainability engagement

We can see the opposite association very clearly when looking at how much people care about a company’s eco-credentials. In adults aged 18 to 24, this is an important aspect of sustainability. Indeed, our UK data shows it to be the most important aspect for this age group.

Yet there is a clear drop-off in ranking after this age group – both in the UK and the USA, the number of people ranking this as important after age 25 is slashed.

Perhaps companies do more to target young people with messaging on sustainability – perhaps young people are connecting with companies in a different way than previous generations?

The same pattern is seen with issues relating to carbon footprint – with the highest scoring coming from the 18-24 crowd, before a rapid decline that pretty much flatlines after it drops off.

So, there’s clear differences in how the youngest and oldest consumers in our survey prioritize issues on sustainability, with younger generations clearly much more engaged on issues like carbon footprints, the eco-credentials of the company itself, and even the use of eco-labels.

But what about those of us – like me – who are clearly no longer under 25, but equally are not 55+. Well, it seems those middle years, specifically 35-44 and 45-54, are when we all want to head to the farmer’s market for some nice local produce.

Engagement Multiple Issues

It’s clear there are generational differences in how issues around sustainability are prioritized – that younger generations seem more engaged on issues of carbon emissions and how well a company is performing in its sustainability mission.

Given sustainability clearly means different things, to different people, how can we better engage on the issue?

We’ve partnered with WholeFoods Magazine to bring you Driving Value Through Sustainability Across the Supply Chain – in which we will explore these issues in more depth and plan for the future together.

Are you #NaturallyInformed on Sustainability Solutions?

By 2021, Nielsen estimates that one quarter of total store sales in the U.S. ($150 billion) will be in sustainable products, with sustainable products expected to outperform traditional products.

Suppliers, brands, retailers, and other industry partners need to make better business decisions and be informed about challenges and opportunities on the path to sustainability. 

Our two-day event taking place August 26-27, 2020 will feature inspiring keynotes and talks by industry leaders who will share insights and solutions on areas including:

  • Drivers of sustainability with insights into market demands
  • Reducing carbon footprints in a global supply chain
  • Sustainable sourcing of ingredients; food tech & sustainability
  • The regenerative agriculture movement


Unlock the Power of Transparency: Schedule a Meeting Now

Ready to Illuminate Your Path?
Partner with Trust Transparency Today.

Get inTouch

Lori Diez

Lori Diez combines compassion and excellence to lead organizations to their next level. A small-town Texas childhood taught her the value of hard work and relationships, which she uses to foster teamwork that brings results that have transformed cultures and programs to their highest potential. Her successful career in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales leadership and event hosting has prepared her to deliver results as the COO of TrustTransparency, where she uses her industry knowledge to ensure that the company’s operations run smoothly as they support nutraceutical companies in their mission to help others. Lori’s passion for charity reflects her belief that individuals working together can change the world, no matter how small their contribution to the effort. This year, she looks forward to continuing over a decade of service at the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo, where she will be the Chairman of the Livestock Committee.

Conference Handouts

Conference Handouts

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 Case Study

CoQ10 Statin Associated Myaglia Meta Study Barry Tan 0618 (1)

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Statin Q10 Effect Case Study

Schedule Consultation with Trust Transparency

Glynnda Steinford

Glynnda Steinford, Trust Transparency Consulting’s Director of Customer Relations, brings over four decades of healthcare experience to her vital role in client engagement and relationship building. Her diverse background spans from administering medical groups to impactful stints in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical sales, all underlined by her degree in Healthcare Administration.

At the heart of Glynnda’s work is her talent for nurturing long-term connections, a skill she leverages to enhance client experiences and partnerships within the consultancy. Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys life’s simple pleasures, whether it’s her love for cats and cooking or her ventures into golf, always prioritizing cherished moments with family and friends. Her personal interests echo the dedication and warmth she extends in her professional network, making her an invaluable asset to the team.

Caiti Dowden

Caiti Dowden stands as a crucial pillar at Trust Transparency Consulting, bringing invaluable insight and expertise to her role as Senior Executive Assistant’ since her start in 2018. With an academic background from Sam Houston University and a career shift from education to the nutraceutical sphere in 2010, Caiti has cultivated a sharp acumen for dissecting industry trends and bolstering strategic decision-making.

Her transition from Data Analyst reflects her growth and deep understanding of the business landscape. Caiti’s commitment goes beyond professional excellence; she thrives on balance, drawing from her rich life outside of work to enhance her organizational contributions. Whether it’s family time, volunteering, or rooting for Houston’s sports teams, she believes in embracing experiences to fuel her professional creativity and insight.

In her current role, Caiti’s dedication to dynamic business analysis and operational support proves her to be an irreplaceable asset to our team, embodying the synergy of personal enrichment and professional success.

Pam Hilpert

Pam Hilpert, Chief of Staff at Trust Transparency Consulting, has been instrumental in the firm since its inception, leveraging her 17 years of accounting experience, including a significant tenure in the nutrition sector. Her collaboration with Scott Steinford spans various successful ventures, emphasizing her integral role in the company’s financial and strategic initiatives.

An alumnus of Sam Houston State University, Pam holds degrees in both Business Administration and Accounting, as well as an MBA, adding academic heft to her practical industry insights. Beyond her professional prowess, Pam is passionate about family, enjoys live music, delves into quilting, and volunteers at her church, reflecting her well-rounded life.

Her multifaceted expertise and longstanding dedication make Pam a cornerstone of Trust Transparency Consulting’s operational strength and team unity.

Scott Steinford

Scott Steinford, a trailblazer in strategic leadership, boasts a certified M&A background, having navigated companies from their genesis to industry prominence. His brainchild, Trust Transparency Consulting, born in 2007, stands as a testament to his dedication to ethical business practices and strategic foresight, offering industry stakeholders invaluable guidance.

Beyond founding and steering companies, Scott has enriched the business landscape with his insightful keynotes and prolific written contributions, emphasizing his commitment to elevating industry standards. His executive tenure shines in roles as CEO or President of for-profits like ZMC-USA and Doctor’s Best, extending to significant contributions in non-profit sectors.

Notably, Scott’s influence is a driving force in the CoQ10 market, where his leadership has significantly bolstered the ingredient’s global presence. His roles in various capacities, including as a New Hope Ambassador, keep the community informed, providing in-depth industry reports and insights.

An active advocate within professional associations and an Editorial Advisor for leading industry publications, Scott’s expertise is both recognized and sought after. With academic roots in Pre-Law and a Master’s in Law, his journey transcends textbooks, embodying real-world business acumen and transformative leadership.

Scott Steinford merges visionary entrepreneurship with principled leadership, creating a legacy of innovation, growth, and unwavering commitment to industry excellence.