Eco-Friendly Packaging Becoming More Important to Shoppers

Articles
July 03, 2009

Eco-Friendly Packaging Becoming More Important to Shoppers

In September of last year, a SupermarketGuru poll showed that 88% of shoppers are most influenced by “taste” when it comes to making purchasing decisions. And although that still holds true, a recent survey suggests that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in food companies should be focusing on environmentally friendly packaging. The poll conducted by Ipsos Marketing surveyed 1,000 citizens from 18 countries that included North America, Europe, Latin America or Asia-Pacific regions, and were asked the question, “What should food companies be focusing on most?” For North America, the number one answer was providing fresh ingredients (26%), and the number two answer was providing additional health benefits (24%). But close behind in third, people suggested that environmentally packaging (21%) should be of high priority. Improving taste came in fourth, more convenient packaging fifth, developing 'new' food sixth, and easier to prepare food seventh. What’s most interesting about this survey is the high attention now being paid by consumers to how sustainable the products they buy are. With growing concern to the protection of our planet comes research showing that by the year 2050, we will need to produce almost twice as much food as we do today based on current population trends which predicts a global population of over 11 billion mouths to feed; and be able to produce it on a shrinking land mass. It is no wonder that over the last year, there have been dozens of conferences focused on the subject; no doubt attended by those who now have the 'sustainability' phrase as part of their title and printed on their business cards, proving that the food industry is in fact responding to consumers’ concerns. It is predicted that sustainable packaging will grow to 32% of the total global packaging market by 2014, up from just 21% in 2009, according to recent research.

In September of last year, a SupermarketGuru poll showed that 88% of shoppers are most influenced by “taste” when it comes to making purchasing decisions. And although that still holds true, a recent survey suggests that consumers are becoming increasingly interested in food companies should be focusing on environmentally friendly packaging.

The poll conducted by Ipsos Marketing surveyed 1,000 citizens from 18 countries that included North America, Europe, Latin America or Asia-Pacific regions, and were asked the question, “What should food companies be focusing on most?” For North America, the number one answer was providing fresh ingredients (26%), and the number two answer was providing additional health benefits (24%). But close behind in third, people suggested that environmentally packaging (21%) should be of high priority. Improving taste came in fourth, more convenient packaging fifth, developing 'new' food sixth, and easier to prepare food seventh.

What’s most interesting about this survey is the high attention now being paid by consumers to how sustainable the products they buy are. With growing concern to the protection of our planet comes research showing that by the year 2050, we will need to produce almost twice as much food as we do today based on current population trends which predicts a global population of over 11 billion mouths to feed; and be able to produce it on a shrinking land mass. It is no wonder that over the last year, there have been dozens of conferences focused on the subject; no doubt attended by those who now have the 'sustainability' phrase as part of their title and printed on their business cards, proving that the food industry is in fact responding to consumers’ concerns. It is predicted that sustainable packaging will grow to 32% of the total global packaging market by 2014, up from just 21% in 2009, according to recent research.

While “taste” may be the most important factor to a consumer when they are perusing the supermarket aisles and checking off their grocery lists, food manufacturers and retailers that pay attention to this heightened interest in environmentally friendly packaging may be at an advantage if they can continue to offer great tasting products that in addition meet sustainability standards.

For more information and interviews with food companies that are making strides in their sustainability efforts, check out our Sustainability Series at FoodNutritionScience.com.  If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing to get involved please contact Allison Bloom at allison@foodnutritionscience.com.