Key Factors of Sustainable Package Design

Considering Sustainable Packaging Design?

When we look around the grocery store or hypermarket stores, are we paying attention to sustainable packaging? Are consumers more inclined to purchase eco-friendly package designs, or do we become inflicted by the price or lack of ease of use? Brands and retailers are constantly facing these challenges when creating a package design, especially as they try to meet consumers’ expectations.

Brands are increasingly trying to conform to sustainable packaging efforts in order to comply with consumer behavior towards eco-friendly products. However, meeting one norm's expectations can be difficult, not to mention pricey! To reach all consumers, a sustainable package must still be easy to use, convenient, cheap, and not to mention easily recyclable.

How do brands portray their sustainable packaging efforts?

Take a look at a major brand’s recent efforts , Coca-Cola creating Coca-Cola Life, a natural and healthier alternative to regular coke. Packaged in Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle, the bottle is claimed to be fully recyclable and composed of 30% vegetable fiber. Although the packaging has been criticized, due to the immenseness of the brand, it is likely their new efforts will still be deemed successful. But what about the smaller brands trying to pursue sustainable efforts? Many brands are found to simply produce re-packaged products and brand them as 'green' as an attempt to be perceived as a sustainable brand, but the packaging clearly does not justify the company's sustainable efforts, and instead is understood as superficial.

How to market and sell sustainable packaging?

Marketers gain an opportunity when it comes to sustainable packaging. They can win over consumers and increase revenue by taking a different route to perhaps other failed efforts by creating innovative packaging designs. The importance of acknowledging package benefits and potential restraints will help determine the product’s potential shelf impact, and allow marketers to think 'will it appeal to consumers at the shelf?' If marketers attempt to connect with their shoppers, they are more likely to create a fan whilst also helping sustainable packaging efforts.

Retailers’ perspective on sustainable packaging

Most retailers tend to have broad sustainability goals, somewhat creating difficulty on suppliers. VP of Sustainability and Retail Operations at the Retail Industry Association, Siegel, says that packaging requires a holistic lifestyle approach which entails package design, raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal. He also suggests packaging as a great vehicle to further educate consumers on healthier and sustainable options. If we look at the snack packaging industry, with over 108 billion units sold last year, snack makers have acknowledged more ways to create sustainable packaging that benefits consumers and retailers.

Consumer Trends

The main question here is, are consumers willing to pay for sustainable packaging? Those who have conformed towards a ‘green’ lifestyle may strongly take into account brands and retailers efforts to promote sustainable packaging. A global survey produced from Packaging World reached conclusions that consumers are willing to fork out more for fresh and sustainable packaging.  The survey results suggest that 55% of consumers would pay more for packaging that is environmentally friendly, as well as 42% of consumers willing to pay for packaging that is reusable and 32% of consumers paying for packaging that is easy to use. Other studies suggest that some consumers are simply unwilling to give up certain amenities of packaging in efforts to be more sustainable. What is the consensus? These factors are clearly dependent on the type of product, the brand, and most importantly the consumer.

Interested in reading more about sustainable packaging trends? Take a read of Weatherchem’s Whitepaper outlining top sustainable trends for consumer packaged goods.

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Resources:

1). http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/Processing-Packaging/Sexy-cheap-and-eco-friendly-What-retailers-snack-on

2). http://inhabitat.com/coca-cola-launches-natural-healthy-coca-cola-life/

3). http://www.packworld.com/sustainability/green-marketing-amp-claims/global-consumers-willing-fork-out-more-fresh-sustainable

4). http://www.bakeryandsnacks.com/Processing-Packaging/Do-consumers-care-about-sustainable-snack-packaging

 

Posted by Gabrena Grewal

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