Packaging company survey reveals consumers would pay more for food products with less plastic

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14th November 2019 11:56 - FMCG

Packaging company survey reveals consumers will pay more for food products with less plastic packaging: A study of European consumers has found that the majority would pay more for food products if they contained less plastic packaging. 

The research commissioned by DS Smith, polled 3,395 consumers from the UK, Poland, Germany and Belgium and found that 91.5% said that if they were given the choice of two packaging options for the same product (one with 85% less plastic than the other), they would choose the reduced plastic option. What's more, 62% said they would be prepared to pay 12.5% more for that option. 

The research also suggests that many European consumers are more environmentally minded today than they have been previously, with 59% admitting they sort their rubbish and recycle packaging more than they did five years ago. Among British consumers polled, this rises to 64%. Three in ten consumers in the UK (30%) have been most motivated to change their behaviour as a result of media coverage around the impact of plastic on the environment, while 24% said that the removal of plastic bags from supermarkets was a top driver.

But which country was the most willing to pay more for less plastic? Seventy-two per cent of (72%) Polish consumers said they would happily pay more, followed by 63% of Germans and 60% of UK consumers. Consumers in Belgium were the least willing to pay extra, however, more than half (54%) were still open to it.

Knowledge around recyclability 

Two thirds (66%) of respondents said they know enough about which items can be recycled and which can't be - and look out for packaging they know can be recycled when they visit the supermarket. 

Just over two fifths of respondents (42%) said that the information about the recyclability of packaging can be hugely improved', however when it is broken down by country, the results show that less than a third of Brits think the same (31%). Consumers in Belgium agreed with the statement the most (53%), followed by Germany (43%) and Poland (41%).

When asked about the most pressing issue facing society today, an overwhelming majority across all markets (86%) said the environment. German consumers were revealed to be the most worried about packaging (83%) followed by the UK (78%), Belgium (73%) and Poland (71%) 

Which packaging material are consumers most concerned about?

The research found that Europeans were by far most concerned over plastic packaging more than any other material - with seven in ten selecting it as their top concern. Plastics were followed by coffee capsules (6%), metal packaging  (5%) and waterproof packaging (4%), with the packaging of least concern being cartons (1%). 

Chris Murray, Managing Director of DS Smith Packaging UK

For the sake of our planet we need to create a truly circular economy where packaging is reduced to the minimum necessary, and consumer goods packaging is increasingly made from and with recyclable and recycled materials like cardboard and carton.”

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