Cost-of-living Cost of Living Retail

With 2/3 of parents struggling in the cost of living crisis, how can retailers help?

By Queralt Guell, Consultant



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August 31, 2023 | 6 min read

Data from Opinium’s Amsterdam office suggests that, amid the cost-of-living crisis, most parents are in financial difficulty. Here, Queralt Guell digs into the stats.

A person holding copper coins in their hands

How can retailers support cash-strapped parents in the cost-of-living crisis? / Annie Spratt via Unsplash

According to our latest Grocery Sustainability Report in the Netherlands, two-thirds of parents with children under 18 are feeling under financial pressure.

The research was conducted in March 2023 by Opinium Amsterdam, with a nationally representative sample of 1,241 Dutch adults.

With the average grocery bill rising by an average of 34€ per week, parents are looking for ways to cut back and save. Over two-fifths (41%) of parents are cooking more at home, while over a third (34%) are consciously cutting down on social activities.

And the cold reality? Nearly two-fifths (37%) of Dutch parents say that they turned down the thermostat to lower their heating bill last winter.

These changing habits and behaviors aren’t simply about saving money. Parents are becoming more strategic in their spending. They’re openly searching for ways to extract more value from every Euro spent and embracing new ways of consumption.

A graph of parents' shopping behaviors

Parents call upon supermarkets to help them shop sustainably

Although impacted by the cost-of-living crisis, eco-conscious choices nevertheless remain a priority for parents. The vast majority of respondents in our Dutch sample (86%) said that it’s important to buy sustainably sourced groceries, of which a third (31%) consider it to be very important. Other top eco-priorities for this group include reducing food waste (38%), promoting animal welfare (35%), and minimizing single-use plastic consumption (27%).

A chart of parent's concerns in the cost-of-living crisis

But Dutch parents don’t want to do this on their own. Over half (55%) say that supermarkets should be responsible for encouraging sustainable shopping behaviors. This compares to 39% who think that it is the responsibility of the government to legislate for sustainability and a quarter (25%) who look to brands for guidance. The message is clear: in parents’ eyes, supermarkets and retailers have the opportunity and the ability to steer shoppers toward a more sustainable future.

A unique opportunity for retailers

So, how can retailers in the Netherlands encourage sustainable shopping choices?

First (and perhaps unsurprisingly), two in five (39%) say that brands and retailers need to offer competitive prices for sustainable produce. But value for money is not the only key driver. Nearly a third (32%) of parents say that they could be encouraged to shop more sustainably if supermarkets expanded their range of sustainable produce.

Parents want supermarkets to enable them to make informed choices. Just under a third (28%) say that they would like retailers to provide clearer sustainability cues on packaging and evidence the products’ sustainability credentials. If they do this, supermarkets will be believed. Just under four in five (78%) say that they believe that when supermarkets make sustainability sourcing claims, they do so genuinely.

A chart of supermarket's sustainability actions

The complex trade-off between the rising cost of living and the importance of sustainability to Dutch parents presents a golden opportunity for supermarkets with a green heart. With almost two-thirds (63%) of Dutch parents willing to reach a little deeper into their pockets for sustainably sourced products, retailers offering sustainable products have a clear advantage.

Those who open the doors of transparency and increase their sustainable sourcing can build both loyalty and trust among parents who want to create a better world for themselves and their children.

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Cost-of-living Cost of Living Retail

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