Gavin Landeg discusses the changing attitudes of UK consumers…
Over recent years, we’ve seen encouraging signs that consumers increasingly value environmental performance when choosing products. Now, data from Tetra Pak shows a number of UK shoppers are prepared to pay more for products in environmentally–sound packaging. In our global study, which examines consumer and industry attitudes towards environmental sustainability, we saw over half of UK consumers indicating they would be willing to pay more for products with strong environmental credentials. When asked about buying milk, over half said they would be willing to pay extra for it if it was packed in environmentally-sound packaging, with around 1 in 10 saying they would pay 20 per cent more.
By contrast, just 15% of the industry influencers we interviewed across 13 major markets, including Germany, France, the USA and China, believed consumers would be willing to pay more, and 53% cited “lack of consumer demand” as a barrier to companies making environmental improvements. These findings are cause for optimism. By investing in sustainable packaging and better communicating the environmental story behind products, there is an opportunity for brands to engage those shoppers who consider the environmental performance of products a selling point.
At Tetra Pak, we believe one of the most effective ways to engage consumers and help them make smart purchasing decisions is through clear environmental labelling, such as FSC™ certification. Our research found that over half of UK consumers now recognise the FSC logo, the highest proportion of any of the 11 markets surveyed. In addition, 73% recognised the Mobius Loop, which identifies a pack as recyclable.
Huge strides have been made, across the industry, to boost the environmental performance of packaging, and, in turn, reduce the overall impact of the products it holds. For example, we sold in excess of a billion FSC-certified cartons in the UK and Ireland in 2013. We also reached an important recycling milestone this year when our industry body, ACE UK, partnered with paperboard producer, Sonoco Alcore, to open the UK’s only dedicated carton recycling plant in Halifax.
As an industry, as well as continuing to work to improve the environmental performance of our packaging, we must make sure we engage consumers with the work being done in this area – from the provenance of the materials used to how packaging can help them limit waste at home.