Packaging leads ‘green’ agenda for consumers

Posted by Josette Dunn on 14th May 2010

Getting packaging right can help convince a cynical consumer that a product’s ethical claims are real, according to new research from Datamonitor.A major study from the independent business analyst has found that although over half of consumers globally reported that protecting the environment is significantly more important to them now than two years ago, this is does not translate to their grocery purchasing behaviour except when it comes to packaging.

57% of consumers thought that it is important to buy ethical or socially responsible products but only 42% reported altering their habits to do so, revealing a significant disconnect between what consumers perceive as important to their purchasing habits, and what they actually buy.

However, exactly the same proportion of consumers said packaging was a key consideration in their purchase decisions, to those who changed their buying habits to include products with reduced packaging.

Datamonitor analyst, Katrina Diamonon said: “The more tangible nature of packaging allows consumers to actually see and feel the difference they are making. Sustainable packaging is a claim that can be physically substantiated, rather than just supported by a stamp or logo which can draw considerable skepticism.

“Buying products with reduced packaging has obvious ethical implications, so this is becoming an increasingly popular way for consumers to translate their good intentions into action – a marketing technique that brands will need to continue to tap into if they wish to establish ethical credentials.”

Sustainable packaging can also serve to validate other ethical claims. In the case of natural and organic products for example, the benefit of reduced or biodegradable packaging can add significant credibility to any other environmental or sustainable credentials.

Ms Diamonon added: “It is clear that although consumers place a great deal of importance on protecting the environment, when it comes to actually changing their behaviour, the most common changes are those which require minimal effort or planning. Seeking recyclable and sustainable packaging is a relatively simple measure consumers can take to fight climate change.”