Most US consumers support renewable packaging: survey

Dive Brief:

  • Less than half of U.S. consumers (41%) are "very aware" of dilemmas regarding resource constraint, but if provided with information about how renewable packaging could decrease carbon emissions, 86% of respondents said it would affect their packaging decision, according to a survey by food processing and packaging company Tetra Pak and the Global Footprint Network.
  • Having that knowledge especially compelled women to action, with 90% of women saying they might change their buying habits versus 77% of men.
  • "The survey also asked respondents about specific actions they would be willing to take to conserve natural resources. The top three responses were: buying local grown food as much as possible (75 percent); only buying as much food as a household was going to consume (72 percent); [and] seeking out food or beverage products that come in renewable packaging (69 percent)," Sustainable Brands reported.

Dive Insight:

"Our survey confirms our belief that with information and education, consumers will respond favorably to the need to pay closer attention to resource challenges and change their individual actions, including making more environmentally responsible decisions around packaging," Elizabeth Comere, director of environment and government affairs for Tetra Pak US and Canada, told Sustainable Brands.

Food and beverage companies are too seeing the value in sustainable and recyclable packaging. Coca-Cola Co. released its 100% plant-based PET bottle, the world's first, over the summer, which appears, works, and recycles like classic PET while offering a lighter footprint. Also this summer, Nestle Waters North America's Resource Natural Spring Water brand debuted a bottle made with 100% recycled material, label and cap not included.

Last month, Tetra Pak introduced a recyclable paper bottle for Just Water made mainly from renewable paper, which has a low carbon footprint, and that conserves energy and water during its manufacturing process. The packaging offers the value of being eco-friendly while also having a design that might be attractive to brands and consumers.

In June, the USDA got involved with plant-based packaging when it instituted a rule that would add plant-based product manufacturers to a loan guarantee program, which would grant access to loans with cheaper interest rates when the manufacturers decide to build a new plant.

However, a report released in January analyzed the recycling and sustainable packaging efforts — or lack thereof — of major food, beverage, and restaurant companies, which found that none of the food and beverage companies on the list received "Best Practices," while only McDonald's and Starbucks earned "Better Practices" status.

Filed Under: Packaging / Labeling Sustainability
Top image credit: hoodsie