Sustainable Rice in Pakistan: Insights from Consumer Behaviors and Perceptions
SRP recently shared the results of an extensive consumer survey  that spans across Asia, offering valuable insights into emerging trends in sustainable rice consumption in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In this article, we delve into the survey results specifically from Pakistan, shedding light on the nation’s rice consumption patterns and sustainable food practices.
Rice Consumption Patterns in Pakistan
The survey reveals that Pakistani consumers enjoy rice less frequently compared to their regional counterparts, with only 14% consuming rice more than five times a week. A majority of 68% of respondents reported having rice only two to three times a week. This contrasts sharply with almost 100% of consumers in other surveyed countries (India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam). Interestingly, 81% of Pakistanis usually opt for basmati rice, followed by white rice at 41%, diverging from the trends observed in Indonesia and Vietnam.
Factors Influencing Rice Purchasing Decisions
For Pakistani consumers, the type of rice takes precedence in their decision-making process, with 54% citing it as the top factor. Quality, taste, and price closely follow in importance, while origin and packaging are considered the least significant. Reflecting the dominance of Basmati as the preferred variety, the results emphasize the pivotal role of rice type and quality in driving consumer choices.
Sustainability and Consumer Preferences in Pakistan
While 82% of Pakistanis have purchased sustainable food previously, awareness of sustainable rice is notably lower at 54%. Older generations, particularly those aged between 45-64 years, are less likely to have embraced sustainable food practices, standing at 76%. Expectations of better quality, enhanced taste, and health benefits primarily motivate those who do purchase sustainable produce, with only 28% considering positive environmental impact as a top priority.
Awareness of Sustainable Rice
Knowledge of sustainable rice is generally lower in Pakistan, with only 54% of consumers being aware of it. Younger generations, particularly those aged 18-29, show greater awareness at 65%. Taste and health benefits emerge as key factors influencing the purchase of sustainable rice, while broader social impacts remain less known.
Word of mouth plays a significant role in influencing rice purchases. Family and friends are the most influential sources of information on rice (60%), followed by in-store/point of sale (59%) and social media (42%).
Willingness to Pay More for Sustainable Rice
Pakistani consumers, on average, pay 988 PKR (3.16 EUR) per rice purchase. While 77% express a willingness to pay more for sustainable rice, resistance is notably higher among individuals over the age of 65. Younger consumers aged 18-29 exhibit the lowest resistance, with only 17% reluctant to buy sustainable rice.
In conclusion, understanding the unique preferences and challenges faced by Pakistani consumers provides valuable insights for stakeholders in the rice industry. As awareness grows and sustainable practices become more integrated into purchasing decisions, the landscape of rice consumption in Pakistan is poised for positive change.
The full summaries of the consumer survey can be accessed here:
- Emerging Trends in Asia’s sustainable rice consumption
- Emerging Trends in India’s sustainable rice consumption
- Emerging Trends in Indonesia’s sustainable rice consumption
- Emerging Trends in Pakistan’s sustainable rice consumption
SRP members can access the complete survey results through the member area on the SRP website.
 The survey was commissioned by GIZ and conducted by YouGov in March 2022. Funded through the develoPPP programme which Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in collaboration with private companies. The support was provided through the Mainstreaming Sustainable Rice project, which aims to scale sustainable rice production and demand globally. The study targeted respondents who regularly consume rice and are responsible for household food purchases in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam.