consumer research

The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit, Vancouver, Canada,
June 13, 2019

Today, The Consumer Goods Forum and the global change agency Futerra launch new consumer research from the USA, UK, India and South Africa revealing a striking difference between what Millennials (23-28 years old) and Gen Z (22 and under) believe about the honesty of brands and retailers.

The survey revealed that in the US & UK, 66% of Millennials think that brands are never honest, or not honest enough about environmental issues, which leaps to 79% of Gen Z. For the treatment of factory workers, 69% of Millennials think that brands are never honest, or not honest enough, with a staggering 84% of Gen Z feeling the same. India follows the trend, with 59% of Millennials thinking that brands are never honest, or not honest enough on worker treatment, increasing to 82% of Gen Z.

The research also reveals that while almost 90% of Millennials and Gen Z personally care if they receive honest information about products, only 42% of Gen Z think that brands care about providing that honest information (the number is 66% among Millennials). This overwhelming demand for honesty led Futerra to name Gen Z “The Honest Generation”.

The survey contains good news for honest brands. 58% of both Millennials and Gen Z would trust a brand more if it shared challenges and ‘work in progress’ on difficult issues. And nearly half (46%) of Gen Z say they search out more honest products when purchasing.

Launching the research at The Consumer Goods Forum’s Global Summit, Solitaire Townsend, Co-Founder of Futerra, said:

“Millennials drove brands to be purposeful, but Gen Z are demanding proof. This generation were raised to question fake news, be suspicious of secrecy and hold sincerity as sacred. They are the Honest Generation and their appetite for radical transparency on social and environmental issues is growing. They don’t expect brands to be perfect, but they do expect them to be truthful. Those CEOs with the courage to be open will be rewarded, but brands who hide will risk being forgotten.”

Peter Freedman, Managing Director of The Consumer Goods Forum, said:

“With Gen Z predicted to become the biggest generation in 2019 at 32% of the population, it is crucial for brands to swiftly improve transparency on the social, environmental, health, and safety of their products, in order to build back trust and thrive with the largest consumer segment in the world.”

This research builds on The Honest Product Guide, launched in November 2018 by The Consumer Goods Forum and Futerra, which revealed that product level transparency (rather than corporate reports) was the major demand from consumers, and also offered a wealth of examples and tools for how to meet that need.

Further insights are available on perceptions of different sectors (baby/cosmetics/food etc), on the specific issues that Gen Z want to see brands be more honest about, and on the role of retailers. The Consumer Goods Forum and Futerra commissioned the online survey of 2,400 across the UK, US, India, and South Africa in June 2019. All the detailed findings and more guidance on how to inspire The Honest Generation will be published later in 2019.


For further information, please contact:

Hannah Phang, Futerra | [email protected] | +44 207 549 4700
Lee Green, The Consumer Goods Forum | [email protected]

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