UK study provides marketing motivation towards “lighter weight” packaging

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd January 2013

A recent report by an international research house reveals a significant difference in attitude between younger and older UK consumers when it comes to presumptions about “lighter weight” packaging. The study found most UK consumers are open to the idea of buying lighter weight packaging, with only 1 in 10 consumers actively “avoiding” it.

The research, by Canadean Consumer, reveals lighter weight packaging is more appealing to older consumers for environmental benefits. In comparison, younger consumers are motivated by potential cost saving rather than environmental reasons.

Alex Wilman, Research Manager at Canadean Consumer division said, “While many consumers will recognise the environmental benefits of lighter packaging, it seems that younger consumers – perhaps sceptical towards environmentalism – are more likely to expect lighter packaging to come with a cheaper price tag.”

Wilman emphasised the importance of targeted marketing in relation to light weight packaging. “For manufacturers producing light weight packaging, there are nuances that should be observed depending on target demographics. For products targeted at younger consumers, portraying the “value-added” message is critical, while stressing the environmentally friendly nature of lighter weight packaging will prove more successful with products targeting older consumers”, said Wilman.

Despite varying attitudes, younger consumers have greater enthusiasm for the lighter pack format, with 17% of 18-24 year olds and 21% of 25-34 year olds representing that they actively hunt for products which claim to have ‘lighter weight’ packaging, compared to the national average of just 12%.

Although 91% of consumers claim to at least occasionally purchase products with “lighter weight” packaging, only 12% “actively do so”. Among the 9% of consumers who avoid buying these products, 41% do so because they are “sceptical about companies ‘greenwashing’ for their own benefit”.

The research reveals a varied consumer pricing concerns, with 56% of consumers refusing to pay any more or any less for lighter weight packaging, 14% expecting to pay up to 20% less than the price of the same product with normal packaging and 11% expecting to pay up to 20% more.

With the evolution of the packaging industry involving many brands choosing more compact packaging for a variety of reasons, this study provides valuable insight into consumer attitudes towards the benefits and pricing implications. Consumer receptiveness to the idea of lighter weight packaging emphasises the importance of “considered and targeted” marketing.