Asda has teamed up with the University of Leeds on a multi-year study on consumer attitudes to sustainability

Asda and the University of Leeds have joined forces to create what they claim will be the largest ever study looking at consumer attitudes towards sustainability.

Part of Asda’s pledge to pass on £800m of savings to customers by 2020, the study aims to create more sustainable and affordable products; find new ways to help UK families save money through greener lifestyles; and cut food waste. It will, in turn, shape the retailer’s future strategy, Asda and the university said in a statement today.

The retailer claims the research will involve the largest customer panel in Europe, and will be solely focused on developing customer insight into greener, more affordable lifestyles and product choices. Dubbed ‘Everyday Experts’, the panel will consist of 7,500 customers.

“This is an exciting partnership amplifying our research expertise to an enormous scale to which researchers rarely have access”

Dr William Young, University of Leeds

The study will be conducted over a two-and-a-half-year period creating “the largest conversation on green living in the UK”, and leading to the creation of a green lifestyle action plan that will save customers money and benefit the local and global environment, Asda said.

“Over the past two years we’ve already committed to passing on £800m of savings to our customers through our sustainability initiatives by 2020. Our Everyday Experts tell us they want consistently low prices without compromising on sustainability,” said Asda’s external affairs director Paul Kelly.

“We’ve joined with University of Leeds in a UK first to help change attitudes to sustainability and to bring new, improved and affordable sustainable products to the shelf edge. Not only does this make sense for retail as a whole; it makes sense for customers and will continue to save them money in the long term.”

The University of Leeds will place a full-time member of staff in Asda to lead the research, shape communications and new product development, and examine large-scale shifts in customer behaviour.

“We’re looking at what will work for the mainstream customer, and not necessarily those who are already committed to a ‘deep green’ lifestyle. This means working within people’s busy lives, desires and needs, so that reducing food waste for example becomes a habit and a way to reduce household food costs,” said Dr William Young, director of the Business and Organisations for Sustainable Societies (BOSS) research group at the University of Leeds.

“This is an exciting partnership amplifying our research expertise to an enormous scale to which researchers rarely have access. We’ll be pioneering research methods and tools that will be significantly important in the move to a low-carbon society.”

The partnership will be launched at a Parliamentary reception later today.