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 environmental 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 percent of all grocery shoppers, up 16 percentage points since 2013. For this group of grocery shoppers, recyclable and renewable are the cornerstones for responsible packaging.
They are 30 percent more likely than grocery shoppers overall to always or usually think about the environmental impact of packaging before purchasing products. They are 38 percent more likely to strongly agree/agree that they try to buy products in packaging that is mostly paper, and they are 31 percent more likely to consider the recyclable label important when shopping.
The increase in the number of Responsible Packaging Shoppers in recent years means that now, more than ever, consumer products companies need to consider not only the contents of the products they sell, but the perceptions created by the packaging material. Food and beverage companies must now consider how the packaging material itself can send positive and influential cues to grocery shoppers.
For Responsible Packaging Shoppers, not all products are created equal when it comes to packaging expectations. The study indicates this segment wants packaging that they perceive to be aligned with contents: healthy packaging for healthy products, recyclable packaging for natural and organic products. What are Responsible Packaging Shoppers opinions?
“Healthy beverage brands need to do a better job of providing alternatives to plastic packaging”: 17 percent more likely to agree or strongly agree with this statement compared to grocery shoppers overall.
“Natural and organic products need to do a better job of packaging their products with recyclable materials”: 16 percent more likely to agree or strongly agree with this statement compared to grocery shoppers overall.
The perceptions about responsible packaging among Responsible Packaging Shoppers extend to the company itself – and to perceptions of the brand. The responsibility for being responsible lies at the top, so to speak.
Corporate commitments to using only packaging that is recyclable or made with recycled or renewable materials positively influences perceptions of purchase choices for Responsible Packaging Shoppers. Corporate commitments to plant-based packaging are extremely or very positive purchase influences for most: 75% of Responsible Packaging Shoppers vs. 61% of grocery shoppers overall.
The recyclable label has real meaning to Responsible Packaging Shoppers, so don’t leave the word about your commitments on your website. These shoppers want to see it on the package itself. They are 31 percent more likely than grocery shoppers overall to consider the recyclable label important when shopping: 89% of Responsible Packaging Shoppers feel it is extremely or very important to see the recyclable label when shopping for foods and beverages, compared to 68 percent of grocery shoppers overall. It makes sense to feature it in a prominent position on the package in a manner that complies with applicable legal requirements and industry standards.
Other communications that are especially meaningful to Responsible Packaging Shoppers include: reducing pollution, reducing waste, protecting natural resources, and sustainable forestry initiatives.
Not surprisingly, three out of four Responsible Packaging Shoppers have reportedly already made changes in what they buy due to concerns about exposure to chemicals from food and beverage packaging. More than six in ten have concerns about the safety of plastic and BPA used in food and beverage packaging. And, they are eager to learn more.
The conclusion for consumer products companies – obvious as it might be – responsible packaging matters.
Download the whitepaper from Evergreen Packaging, to learn more.
Source: 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study