According to the 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, grocery shoppers have greater expectations of packaging than ever before – especially when it relates to healthy food and beverages – and greater expectations for brands and grocers.
Packaging is becoming as important as what is in the package for more grocery shoppers. Shoppers are also digging deeper into what is behind the product and packaging at the corporate level. For brands, particularly in the healthy food and beverage categories, shoppers are looking for packaging that protects freshness, taste and nutrients, and packaging that aligns with ingredients. After that baseline, they look even deeper.
Specifically, the trends study shows that food and beverage manufacturers will be challenged in 2019 to:
- Work Harder to Be Responsible
- Work Harder to Share Values
How much packaging? Is the packaging recyclable? Is the packaging made with renewable materials? Are the packaging materials plant-based? All these questions are on more grocery shoppers’ minds as they decide on a food or beverage purchase.
Whether it is related to the topic of recyclability or the use of less plastic, 68% of grocery shoppers say it is extremely or very important “to choose foods or beverages that are packaged responsibly.” This is up five points in four years. Just over half of grocery shoppers agree or strongly agree that they have changed what they were buying due to the type or amount of packaging.
Recyclability of the packaging is very important with 68% stating they try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable, and 68% say it is extremely or very important that the recyclable label is on the packaging. In addition, 61% of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree “I try to buy beverages that use less plastic in their packaging.”
Renewable materials are also playing an important role in grocery shoppers’ decisions: 57% of grocery shoppers identify packaging “made with renewable materials” as extremely or very important when shopping for healthy beverages. The concept of plant-based and paper is a big part of that, with 48% of grocery shoppers strongly agreeing or agreeing they try to buy “products in packaging that is mostly made of paper.” And, 46% say they try to buy “products in packaging that is made with plant-based materials.” It is a subject that 62% want to learn more about.
Grocery shoppers’ environmental responsibility interests go even deeper. They are increasingly expecting more out of brands and retailers in terms of environmentally-friendly products and packaging, and the social responsibility of the companies involved. A focus on authentic values and shared values is reshaping expectations.
Just over half of grocery shoppers (51%) strongly agree or agree “I have avoided purchasing products from companies when I learned they did not have socially responsible practices,” and just under half (49%) of grocery shoppers strongly agree or agree “I have avoided purchasing products from companies when I learned that they did not have environmentally responsible practices.”
Corporate commitments to using renewable resources are extremely or very influential to the choice of brands, products and services for 73% of grocery shoppers. Sustainable forestry initiatives are extremely or very influential to 69% of shoppers.
Download the full whitepaper from Evergreen Packaging, “2019 Food and Beverage Packaging Trends,” to learn more.
Evergreen Packaging makes and supplies paper and paperboard products globally, including gable top cartons. Fiber used in Evergreen Packaging products comes from forests in the US where responsible forestry practices are used and where overall growth exceeds harvest. Evergreen Packaging cartons contain protective layers of plastic (including cap and spout). The data presented here is not intended to suggest that Evergreen Packaging products have all the attributes discussed in this piece. This publication presents data on consumer perceptions because consumer perceptions matter when shoppers choose which products to purchase.
The EcoFocus Trend survey is an annual tracking study, conducted since 2010, examining wellness and sustainability trends impacting the food and beverage industry. The study is conducted online annually among 4,000 adults. The data is nationally projectable to the US adult population ages 18 to 65 years with a margin of error of +/- 1.39 points in 2018.