Packaging a ‘key product attribute’ as plastic backlash continues

By Katy Askew contact

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock
©iStock
Three quarters of shoppers across Europe express a desire for products with environmentally friendly packaging as concern over the impact of plastic on the environment continues to mount.

According to IRI’s latest European Shopper Insights Survey, which took in the opinion of over 3,300 consumers across seven European countries, there are some distinct differences in the attitudes of shoppers across different markets.

Italian shoppers are the most likely to want to buy products with environmentally-friendly packaging, with 81% highlighting this as an important product attribute. The Italians were followed by Spain, where 75% expressed this preference and then Greece and France at 74%. German consumers were least likely to prefer to buy products with recycable packaging, with just 62% of respondents stating packaging was important.

“Shoppers are more aware than ever of the environmental impact their purchases can have and are making the connection every time they pick up brands in store,”​ Olly Abotorabi, Senior Regional Insights Manager at IRI, noted.

 
Europe Total %
Italy
Greece
Spain
France
UK
Netherlands
Germany
Prefer to buy products with environmentally friendly Packaging
72
81
74
75
74
73
66
62
Prefer to buy products which respect the environment
72
82
83
78
71
67
62
 

IRI also identified a generational divide with young millennials (18-24 year olds) less likely to care about the plastics issue. The researchers found 18-24 year are less concerned than older shoppers about buying products that respect the environment. The same applies to sustainability – just 30% of young millenials buy locally because of this issue compared to 33% of those above 34 years old.

Make packaging part of brand architecture

IRI suggested that brand managers need to make packaging – alongside issues like pesticides and carbon emissions – part of the brand architecture in order to adhere to consumer preferences for environmentally friendly products.

“Plastic pledges are fast being woven into FMCG company strategic outlooks. Manufacturers will need to continue to be seen taking action if they want their brands to remain top of mind with consumers and retailers.

“Packaging has become a key product attribute that marketers need to feed into predictive purchase models for their brands, alongside other factors that can influence shopper behavior such as size, flavour, colour and price,”​ continued Abotorabi.

“Demonstrating the value their brand generates for the category alongside commitment to a so-called ‘circular economy’ for packaging - evolving to a re-usable rather than single use packaging - will be key going forward. In future this could be key to keeping products on retailer shelves.”

Related topics: Market Trends

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