Renewable and recyclable – two ends of the responsible packaging equation
Environmentally-responsible packaging has become a higher priority for more grocery shoppers. Responsible Packaging Shoppers, a trend-setting segment of grocery shoppers, strongly agree/agree that it is important to choose foods and beverages that are packaged responsibly. They now include 59% of all grocery shoppers, up eight percentage points since 2013. These trend-setting consumers are setting priorities to:
- Try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable (85% strongly agree or agree)
- Try to buy products in packaging made from plant-based materials (66% strongly agree or agree)
- Try to buy products in packaging that is mostly made of paper (66% strongly agree or agree)
These statistics, and others from the 2018 EcoFocus Trends Study, paint a very clear picture that more consumers care about packaging materials and are willing to make changes in their shopping behaviors based on the packaging: 70% of Responsible Packaging Shoppers strongly agree/agree they have changed what they buy because of the type or amount of packaging.
This segment is 30% more likely than all Grocery Shoppers to always or usually think about the environmental impact of packaging before purchasing products, and they want food and beverage companies to make commitments that share their values in this regard. Responsible Packaging Shoppers say a company’s commitment to the following is extremely or very important to their purchase decisions in 2018:
- 85%, Only using packaging that is recyclable
- 83%, Only using packaging that is made with renewable materials
- 75%, Only using packaging that is plant-based
The question food companies need to ask, is that while recyclable and renewable are desirable packaging qualities for consumers, do they understand what those two terms really mean? These two terms are often used interchangeably by food and beverage companies; however, they are different concepts and at opposite ends of the package lifecycle equation.
Recyclable is a post-use term meaning the material can be converted from waste materials to be made suitable for reuse in other products. For example, gable top cartons are regularly converted to make stationery, tissue and household papers, and building materials.
Renewable is a pre-manufacturing term referring to the raw materials. Renewable means a natural resource, such as wood fiber, that can be replenished or replaced by new growth.
Gable top cartons, made principally of paper, are an example of a package made with renewable material.
Brands that align with the values of Responsible Packaging Shoppers to focus on the environmental impact of packaging and consider the packaging journey from source material to end of use, are likely to be rewarded by this trend-setting segment.
To learn more about Responsible Packaging Shoppers, download the whitepaper from Evergreen Packaging.
Source: 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study