As consumer demand for more sustainable alternatives grows, food companies are under more pressure to prove their environmental credentials.
The rise of the "mindful consumer" has been touted, among others, by market research firm Innova Market Insights, whose top five trends for 2018 include "going full circle".
Its research found that "more than half of global consumers consider environmentally friendly packaging to be important".
Tetra Pak's own research confirms this. A recent study conducted on behalf of Tetra Pak by Ipsos revealed that:
43% of consumers say environmentally sound packaging is much more likely to make them consider a brand.
42% of consumers look for environmental logos on the products they buy, with 57% saying they make a brand more trustworthy.
18%, or one in five consumers, has boycotted a brand or product for environmental reasons.
"We as consumers are more aware of the labelling on packaging, and we are looking for labels that chime with our environmental consciousness. We want to do good for the planet and be responsible consumers," says Mario Abreu, Vice President for Sustainability at Tetra Pak.
Abreu says that with the majority of consumers increasingly environmentally minded, it is critical that companies follow suit – and one of the easiest ways to communicate their environmental credentials is through their choice of packaging.
"The environmentally conscious consumer is here to stay," he says. "We are seeing this in the debate over secondary packaging and plastics, while recyclability is increasingly important for consumers everywhere."
The Tetra Pak study found that in most countries, food manufacturers and retailers consider the carton to be the most environmentally sound packaging, with 67% already using environmental labelling. The recycling logo is thought to be most appealing and easily understood by consumers.
Abreu expects other messages to grow in appeal too, as consumers become more familiar with and used to looking for proof of environmental responsibility. Sixty-five percent of companies already use materials that are responsibly sourced and/or recycled.
"We are seeing that recognition is growing of what Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) stands for, while the concept of renewability and using resources such as wood that grow back naturally without the need for chemical processes or intervention catches on."
Abreu says that Tetra Recart, which offers a package that has five times lower CO2 emissions than steel cans or glass jars, welcomes the rise of the mindful consumer. "Tetra Recart is the most environmentally sound alternative – or as we call it, canned food two centuries smarter."
The FSC licence code for Tetra Pak is FSC™ C014047.
Packaging Insights: Innovation Insights in Sustainable Packaging Materials (April 2018, Innova Market Insights)
Environment Report 2017: Tetra Pak in Collaboration with Ipsos, Summary Report, July 2017
Vice President for Sustainability at Tetra Pak.
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