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Brits bid for greener lifestyles but are overwhelmed by eco advice, new research reveals

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British adults want to do their bit for the planet – but are often stuck when it comes to sustainability, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 adults by KitKat found a clear appetite to live greener: 45 per cent of people believe they can make a real difference by being more environmentally friendly, and over half (57 per cent) say they know they could do more.

But over a quarter of Brits (26 per cent) feel overwhelmed by eco advice, with a huge six in 10 (59 per cent) admitting they don’t always know what steps to take to achieve a more sustainable lifestyle.

Cheryl Allen, Head of Sustainability for Nestlé Confectionery said: “We’re often told that simple, everyday actions will help save the planet – and it’s true that we can all make an important difference through our choices. There is clearly a real desire by many people to make these improvements – the hard part is breaking them down into smaller, realistic steps that we can build into our daily habits without having to think too much about it.”

For those who have tried to do their bit for the environment, walking instead of driving, switching off lights and recycling where possible topped the list of sustainable steps that people have taken.

But according to the study, even those who do take these positive steps have quickly fallen back into old ways. Choosing items based on carbon footprint (29 per cent) or packaging recyclability (13 per cent) were cited as some of the hardest habits to follow. Another three in 10 people say they can’t get on board with taking colder showers, while 17 per cent find it tough to cut back on their meat consumption.

Just under a fifth (18 per cent) admit they have a hard time keeping positive environmental habits for long enough to make them stick. As a result, eight in 10 feel guilty about the way they are treating the planet.

The research, conducted by OnePoll, comes as KitKat launches its campaign to help consumers ‘Break Up The Big Stuff’, an effort to simplify some big sustainability topics and encourage small everyday hacks that are easy to do at home. 

Habits expert Dr Heather McKee, who is backing KitKat’s campaign, advised: “This research has found that people really do feel overwhelmed when it comes to sustainability. One trick is to adopt something called ‘habit stacking’, building an eco-friendly swap or choice into, or on top of, your other daily habits, until it becomes automatic for you.

“For example, many people tend to take a reusable carrier bag to the supermarket each week. So your ‘habit stack’ might be to take along your waste soft plastics – like crisp packets, bread bags and confectionery wrappers – inside that reusable bag, so that they can be recycled at a supermarket collection point.

“Or maybe you keep forgetting to bring your reusable cup with you to your local coffee shop. Why not put it next to something you always grab on your way out the door, such as your keys or wallet, or even put it in your coat pocket.

“Breaking down sustainable actions and layering your habits like this means that over time, through repetition, they become ingrained in your daily or weekly routines. That way, you don't even have to think about them anymore, they stop being so overwhelming and start to become second nature.”

Notes to Editors

About the research:
The survey of 2,000 UK adults (nationally representative) was conducted by OnePoll in September 2021.

About KitKat:
KitKat was first manufactured in York in 1935 as Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. It was rebranded two years later as KitKat Chocolate Crisp. The brand has gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon, with 17 billion KitKats eaten across the globe every single year. In 2010, Guinness World Records certified KitKat as the world’s most global brand. It is now manufactured in 14 countries and sold in over 80 territories around the world.

Follow us on Twitter @KitKat, Instagram @KitKat or Facebook @KitKatUK

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. With more than 2,000 brands ranging from global icons to local favourites, we are present in 191 countries around the world.