There is a trend among U.S. grocery shoppers today to consider the package along with the ingredients in judging what is healthy, fresh and natural. This trend is being led by Responsible Packaging Shoppers, an influential segment of grocery shoppers purchasing foods and beverages they believe are healthy for them and for the environment as well. Responsible Packaging Shoppers are a likely bellwether for healthy food and beverage packaging trends, much as Natural Foods Shoppers have been for organic and natural trends.
According to the 2018 EcoFocus Trends Study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, Responsible Packaging Shoppers are making purchasing decisions based on their perceptions of the packaging material’s healthy and eco-friendly credentials. Packaging recyclability and corporate commitments to sustainability make a difference to Responsible Packaging Shoppers when they choose what to put in their shopping basket.
Responsible Packaging Shoppers now make up 59% of all grocery shoppers, up 16% since 2013. For this group of grocery shoppers, recyclable and renewable are the cornerstones for responsible packaging.
They are 30% more likely than all grocery shoppers to always or usually think about the environmental impact of packaging before purchasing products. These considerations impact where they choose to shop. Responsible Packaging Shoppers say it’s extremely or very important to shop for groceries at stores that make it easy for them to make healthy choices (83% vs. 66% of all grocery shoppers), that make it easy for them to make eco-friendly choices (78% vs. 57% of all grocery shoppers), and that provide helpful information regarding recycling and other eco-friendly practices (77% vs. 55% of all grocery shoppers). Two in three (68%) of Responsible Packaging Shoppers say it is extremely or very important to shop at retail stores that require that the products and brands sold in their store are eco-friendly, vs. 52% of all grocery shoppers.
Top indicators of whether a grocery retailer is eco-friendly are the types of packaging on the shelf for 76% of Responsible Packaging Shoppers and the products stocked for 73% of Responsible Packaging Shoppers. Advertising, in-store messaging, and information on websites lag far behind. Responsible Packaging Shoppers are 38% more likely than all grocery shoppers to strongly agree/agree that they try to buy products in packaging that is mostly made of paper, and they are 31% more likely to consider the recyclable label important when shopping. The growth and trend-setting nature of this group means that now, more than ever, grocery retailers need to consider not only the quality of the products they sell, but the perceptions about how that product is packaged and sold. Retailers need to make it easier and clearer for this shopper to find what they want and prefer to buy.
“Just as Natural Foods Shoppers have changed the landscape of grocery stores, Responsible Packaging Shoppers are expected to have the same long term, sustaining impact. Most shoppers today are familiar with natural foods supermarket aisles and sections dedicated to natural brands and clean ingredients. In the future, aisles dedicated to responsible packaging and the demands of the Responsible Shopper segment are likely to be just as familiar. Responsible Packaging Shoppers are setting recyclable and renewable packaging as the cornerstones for responsible packaging. Packaging that is as clean as the ingredients, and protects taste and nutrients naturally is in demand among Responsible Packaging Shoppers,” said Linda Gilbert, study author and chief executive officer of EcoFocus Worldwide.
The conclusion for grocery retailers – obvious as it might be – responsible packaging matters for a growing segment of grocery shoppers whose influence will transform the grocery store landscape.
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Source: 2018 EcoFocus Trend Survey