Support for sustainable packaging is growing

Consumers are not just more conscious of packaging choices, but willing to pay more for greener options.

cardboard-packagingEven though some consumers deprioritized sustainability as a driver of purchasing decisions during the global pandemic, the underlying attitudes and behaviours associated with sustainable packaging have not only returned, but become further entrenched.

This is one of the key findings in Trivium Packaging’s 2022 Global Buying Green Report, which for the past three years has tracked consumer sentiment with respect to sustainable packaging options. The report is based on research by Boston Consulting Group that surveyed more than 15,000 consumers across Europe, North America and South America, representative of the overall populations in those regions in terms of age, gender and income distribution.

According to the report, consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable packaging is reflective of their overall values and “has proven remarkably stable and robust” during the pandemic.

This is driven in part by the continued growth of environmental awareness among consumers. The past year saw the largest percentage of respondents identify as environmentally aware at 70% – a 3% increase over the past two years. That awareness is driving consumers to make more sustainable choices, with 68% of respondents having chosen a product in the last six months based upon its sustainability credentials.

By region, South America leads those surveyed when it comes to sustainable values and their translation into actual behaviours, with an almost even 80% identifying as environmentally aware and 79% making purchases based on a product’s sustainability credentials in the past six months. Europe follows at an even 71% across both, while North America lags the other regions with 57% of consumers identifying as environmentally aware and 54% having made a purchase based on environmental credentials in the past six months.

In addition to actively seeking out products in more sustainable packaging – be it recyclable or refillable – consumers are also seeking more information on sustainability before they make a purchase, with 66% of respondents saying they want to choose packaging they consider to be environmentally friendly and are actively seeking information to help them make decisions. Additionally, 54% of consumers actively look for that information on the packaging directly, while 57% of consumers are less likely to buy products in packaging they consider harmful to the environment, such as plastic packaging and 44% say they outright won’t buy such products.

These attitudes are also seemingly undeterred by cost. In fact, 77% of consumers said they are willing to spend more for products in sustainable packaging – a 4% increase over the previous year. This is especially true of younger consumers, aged 18 to 44, 86% of whom said they are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging. Modest cost increases of less than 10% seem preferred, although there are sizeable contingents of consumers across all income brackets that would be willing to accept a more than 10% premium for products in sustainable packaging.