Consumers don’t buy sustainable packaging?

Well that was the title of the debate at the recent Packaging Innovations conference, although the discussion veered off course to ask, is it irresponsible ‘use & discard’ consumption behaviour that is actually at the heart of the matter.

So how in marketing can we encourage the take up of more eco-friendly packaging?

Brand owners will say that to switch to more sustainable packaging will increase costs – costs that the consumer will be forced to pay more for.  Fair point.

So would consumers pay more for eco-friendly packaging? Recent research appears conflicting, with one study suggesting consumers claim they would, while another says they wouldn’t.

While being first to market might offer an ethical story for a brand to shout about, I think that in these cost-conscious times, any increase in your price relative to competitors would almost certainly result in falling sales. And does anyone know a Brand Director willing to bet against me?

So back to my first question, how can we encourage the take up of more eco-friendly packaging?

In my experience, consumers would be willing to pay more if the pack gave them a real benefit (beyond any nice feeling from doing your bit for the environment). Combining more eco friendly materials with real gains in functionality (and with no trade-off of existing functionality) will, I believe, prove much more effective at encouraging consumers to buy a more sustainable pack.

Here at Marketing Sciences we’re already using early-stage techniques to help clients identify ways of improving their pack.

Perhaps we should do our bit and push sustainability further up the agenda?

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Chris Peach
01962 842211
Article date - 08/03/2013
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