Globally, 74% of consumers are concerned about the state of the environment. This increased awareness is a consequence of people being exposed first-hand to the damage done to the planet and the results of this damage. Due to this, more people are making changes to try and lead a sustainable lifestyle. This, plus health and safety concerns that have been raised as a result of the pandemic, has resulted in consumers evaluating the sustainability and safety of packaging more closely than before.
Addressing Sustainability Concerns
With the increasing concern about the state of the environment, it is important that brands look to address sustainability concerns consumers have with packaging. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 68% of global consumers believe that food, drink, and supplement brands should be doing more to protect the planet. With concern that the damage done to the planet is irreversible, consumers are looking for brands that reflect their outlook on life and are addressing these concerns.
Globally, 47% of consumers say that they keep packaging for alternative uses after consumption. Packaging that can be reused and repurposed post-consumption can stand out and appeal to consumers. Another way that brands can appeal to consumers is through incentives such as discounts when reusing packaging to encourage people to keep and reuse the packaging after use.
Another way to tackle issues surrounding sustainability is by addressing food wastage. Brands should look to use packaging that can help extend the shelf life of a product without the need for artificial ingredients.
Additionally, brands should ensure that easily perishable products are not damaged along the supply chain due to inferior packaging. By reducing food waste, brands can show consumers that they are addressing and tackling sustainability issues within the food and drink industry.
However, it is important for brands to be aware that consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical toward sustainability claims made by brands. Therefore, it is important that any claims made around sustainability initiatives are evidence-led and accurate. Information on packaging should be simple and transparent so consumers are able to make informed decisions easily.
Quick and Easy Recycling
It is important that packaging is easy to recycle with clear guidelines available to make the recycling experience as simple as possible. As food and drink is something that is consumed daily, these are the items most likely to be recycled. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 46% of consumers say that they find it difficult to recycle some types of packaging. Brands should do more to reduce materials in packaging to streamline the recycling process.
Additionally, simplified guidelines on packaging can make recycling easier for consumers who may not know if certain packaging is able to be recycled. Brands should also actively communicate the benefits of sustainable packaging types.
Even with more consumers concerned about the environment, it is crucial not to overestimate how altruistic they are. People are less likely to recycle packaging that is deemed confusing to recycle.
FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that 41% of global consumers say that they find recycling to be too time-consuming. This further highlights the importance of brands providing simpler recycling information that’s easy to understand on the packaging of products.
Health and Safety Concerns
Another issue is consumer concerns about the health and safety issues surrounding packaging. As a result of COVID-19, consumers have become more risk-averse and aware of the origin of the products they purchase. Consumers want to know that the products they purchase have not been exposed to germs, viruses, and bacteria along food and drink supply chains and that these germs and bacteria will not survive on the surfaces of plastic.
Additionally, consumers are concerned that plastic packaging may contain chemicals that are both harmful to the individual and the planet. As a result, consumers are re-evaluating the role of packaging and looking for packaging that is robust and ensures product safety. Therefore, it is important that brands ensure their packaging is safe, tamper-proof, and robust as well as easy to recycle.
Consumers are willing to pay premium prices for packaging that’s green and clean and is deemed safe by these consumers. FMCG Gurus consumer insights found that over half of consumers are happy to pay more or a grocery product if they know the packaging offers them maximum safety. The heightened emphasis being placed on packaging that is green, clean, and safe is something that is going to continue for some time as consumers continue to be concerned about future variants of COVID-19, their overall wellbeing, and the state of the environment.
Emily Smith, Content & Editorial Analyst at FMCG Gurus
This article is based on FMCG Gurus – Unboxing Packaging Trends in 2021 and Beyond – Global Report. For more information, please contact Info@fmcggurus.com