FMCGs pay “lip service” to corporate responsibility, according to their customers

FMCGs pay “lip service” to corporate responsibili...

Consumers are highly cynical about FMCGs’ corporate responsibility programmes One quarter switched brands after a recommendation from a friend on social media

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Consumers are highly suspicious of FMCGs’ corporate responsibility programmes and are shunning companies’ websites in favour of peer-to-peer review sites, according to a new survey published by the KPMG/YouGov Consumer Insights Panel.

Of the 2,000 consumers questioned, 66% said they believe that FMCG companies are doing the bare minimum when it comes to improving their treatment of suppliers, ethical leadership and having a robust environmental policy. 60% said they don’t always believe what these companies say they are doing.

Liz Claydon, Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG, said: “Consumers remain highly cynical about FMCGs’ behaviour in the boardroom and don’t trust the work they say they are doing to raise ethical standards, protect the environment and give back to the local community.  The big players need to urgently fix this breakdown in communications and prove to consumers that they are not merely paying lip service to their corporate responsibility programmes.”

The report also revealed that social media is beginning to change the way we shop and can influence which brands consumers buy.  Almost a third of respondents (28%) said they have purchased new brands as a result of discovering them on social media, and 25% of those surveyed said they have switched brands as a result of recommendations from friends online.

Consumers also said they rely heavily on online peer to peer reviews when researching products, and said they trusted forums and comment sections on websites more than TV advertising or manufacturers’ websites.

Louise Vacher, Consulting Director at YouGov, said: “With its increasing influence on consumers’ choice of brands, social media is becoming a trusted source of information and recommendations for the average consumer and is clearly influencing buying behaviour. 

“This is proving a game changer for smaller companies and emerging challenger brands.  It enables them to run innovative campaigns at a minimal cost and reach a large number of people, which can help to level the online playing field and enable them to compete with the established corporate behemoths’ colossal advertising budgets.”

However, price remains the most important factor for the average consumer when deciding whether or not to buy a product.  70% said putting prices up beyond inflation would most likely cause them to stop buying the brand and 65% said reducing the size of products without decreasing the price would also put them off purchasing the goods.  A third of respondents said they now choose brands on factors such as price, rather than just sticking to a specific brand.


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Notes to editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,079. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10-13 April and the survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (18+).


For press enquiries and to request a copy of the full report, please contact:

Zoe Sheppard, PR Manager at KPMG

T: +44 (0)117 905 4337


KPMG Press office: +44 (0)207 694 8773


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

About YouGov

YouGov is an international, full-service market research agency and is considered to be the pioneer of online market research. Our suite of syndicated, proprietary data products includes: BrandIndex, the daily brand perception tracker; SoMA, the social media audience analysis tool; Profiles, our new tool for media planning, market segmentation and forecasting and Reports which provide comprehensive market intelligence on a range of sectors. The market-leading YouGov Omnibus provides a fast and cost- effective service for obtaining answers to research questions from both national and selected samples. Our custom research business conducts a wide range of quantative and qualitative research, tailored to our specialist teams to meet our clients’ specific requirements.

This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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