Sustainability of packaging important for customers

How much do consumers care about the environment when it comes to packaging? A representative consumer survey commissioned by the STI Group shows that sustainability of packaging plays an important role for one in two consumers.

According to the results of the survey, the majority of consumers instantly think of issues such as recycling and disposal when they think of sustainable packaging. Furthermore, consumers make inferences about the sustainability of the product from the packaging material used. Packaging made of cardboard or corrugated board is thus considered to be environmentally friendlier than packaging made from other materials. Consumers also value packaging with the lowest possible material input or a small packaging size in relation to the contents as well as the recyclability of the packaging.

Higher Price Acceptance

The survey also shows a surprisingly high level of consumer willingness to pay more for products with sustainable packaging: For a product worth 2.50 Euros, the respondents would have been willing to pay, on average, 30 cents, i.e.12 percent more. Just 15 percent would not have paid any premium, whereas ten percent stated that they would have been prepared to pay even an additional charge of one euro for environmentally friendly packaging. Whether this would actually be the case in practice, remains to be seen. What is definitely clear, however, is that there is an awareness of the issue among consumers.

Which logos stand for sustainability?

The online survey also asked consumers about their awareness of different logos and their relevance to purchase. The eco-labels ‘Der Grüne Punkt’, ‘Der Blaue Engel’, Fairtrade and FSC took the top four spots. It doesn’t come as a surprise that ‘Der Grüne Punkt’ was the best known logo by far – 93 percent of the respondents were familiar with the logo. However, it is far from being a symbol for environmentally friendly packaging. On the other hand, awareness about the FSC logo and its relevance to purchase could be improved: 48 percent of the survey participants stated that they recognised the logo but only 18 percent actually looked out for the label on the packaging while making a purchase. This gap between the awareness of ‘Der Grüne Punkt’ and the FSC logo shows that communication with consumers about eco-labels and sustainability labels plays a crucial role. Even though the use of paper from sustainable forestry has almost become the norm these days, there is a still a strong need for educating consumers about this. Admittedly, paper and cardboard from sustainable forestry lead to additional costs in packaging production, as do bioplastics. However, intelligent product development can save resources in the value chain.